Man accused in New Year's Eve rape had violated probation - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Man accused in New Year's Eve rape had violated probation

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By Amy Lange
Fox 2 News


DETROIT (WJBK) -- Howard McKnight is just 22 years old and accused of a terrible crime on New Year's Eve.  A married couple in their car was stuck in a snow bank on Detroit's east side.  Police say he offered to help, but instead pulled a gun on the husband, who had recently had a stroke, then raped the wife and stole her jewelry and $280 all while threatening to kill them both.

Police arrested McKnight on Friday, but this isn't his first brush with the law and he shouldn't have even been on the streets.  Previous crimes include resisting and obstructing a police officer in 2008.  Last year, he was charged with carjacking and armed robbery.

McKnight was only found guilty of unarmed robbery.  The judge says a weapon was never produced and a witness failed to show.  However, that same judge signed a warrant for his arrest in November when he violated his probation.

McKnight had been sentenced to a drug treatment program.  He left the program on November 13 and stopped reporting to his probation officer, according to the Department of Corrections, violating his probation, but he wasn't picked up in time to prevent another alleged crime.

"There's really no priority in the system for nabbing these people after they've messed up.  This is not the first time that he messed up.  It's the second time, and these are violent crimes," said Fox 2 legal analyst Charlie Langton.

He also said McKnight will go away for many years if convicted this time.

"This is clearly his third strike.  Now the prison system will deal with him.  The judge tried to give him a break, tried to get him some rehabilitation.  For this young guy it didn't work."

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