Knaub
Knaub

A homeless man appeared in York County Court on Thursday, prepared to plead no contest to kidnapping a real-estate agent in May and forcing her to withdraw money from a cash machine.

But Gregory S. Knaub's negotiated plea agreement fell apart when Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder refused to accept the proposed deal, according to defense attorney Seamus Dubbs.

Knaub, 37, had intended to plead no contest to kidnapping and guilty to other charges, including robbery, Dubbs said.

That's because he was high on bath salts at the time of the alleged kidnapping and maintains he has trouble remembering the event, according to Dubbs.

Defendants who plead no contest aren't admitting guilt. Rather, they are saying they will not contest the charges against them. A no-contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea.

Dubbs said Snyder wasn't comfortable allowing Knaub to plead no contest rather than guilty, and declined to accept the agreement, which called for a sentence of 12 to 26 years in state prison.

That means Knaub now faces trial. A trial date has not yet been set.

The background: Knaub is accused of kidnapping the female real-estate agent and forcing her to withdraw cash from an automatic teller machine after meeting her for a bogus showing at a house that was for sale, according to police.

Police said he met the agent at 10 a.m. May 21 at a home in the 1700 block of Monroe Street in West York.

After the meeting, as the agent was getting ready to leave, Knaub got into the back seat of her car, brandished a steak knife and forced her to drive to a Spring Garden Township bank, where she withdrew $20 and gave it to him, police allege.

He then ordered her to drive to the corner of South Belvidere Avenue and West King Street in York City, where he leapt from the car, police said. The woman drove to the West York police station and alerted officers.

Police converged on the area and later found Knaub hiding in the Codorus Creek -- submerged in water, holding his breath and popping his head up for air as needed.

Senior deputy prosecutor Lishani Sunday did not return a phone message seeking comment.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.