Rape charges shock NH neighbors
Rape charges shock NH neighbors
By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader
Thursday, Jun. 19, 2008
Brian Knippers had a career in the New England software industry, a Newmarket condo he shared with a girlfriend and a passion for fishing that included posting his trophies on-line.
And if police charges prove to be true, the 35-year-old is a serial rapist who stalked prostitutes in Massachusetts and brutally attacked and raped them over the past 2 1/2 years. After two days of testimony in a Massachusetts courtroom this week, a judge ordered him held for 90 days, according to the Enterprisenews.com, the Web site of the Brockton (Mass.) Enterprise newspaper.
District Court Judge James Sullivan said Knippers "can be classified as nothing less than a sexual predator" and posed a danger to the community and the victims if released, the Web site reported.
Knippers is charged with raping five prostitutes, four in Brockton and one in New Bedford. Avon police are investigating the attack on a sixth woman where DNA evidence matched that in three of the Brockton attacks, the Web site reported.
In court, Knippers' attorney, Joseph Krowski, said the women's descriptions of the attacker were inconsistent and the DNA evidence could be challenged. Knippers turned himself in at a New Hampshire police station after learning police were looking for him, showing "consciousness of innocence," Krowski said.
Knippers was arrested two weeks ago when he turned himself in to Dover police, said Dover police Sgt. William Malsbury. He came into the station with a lawyer, Malsbury said.
"He came down to our agency, and I believe the (New Hampshire) state police scooped him up right away as a fugitive from justice," Malsbury said. He said Dover police have no other involvement with Knippers and are not investigating his involvement in any crimes there.
According to telephone records, Knippers lives in Fieldstone Estates, a condominium complex in Newmarket. His voice mail welcomes callers and suggest they leave a message for Brian or Jessica.
"Everybody here was surprised. Everyone here was shocked he was this type of person," said Karen Brady, who lives in Fieldstone Estates. Brady said she saw Knippers very little.
"He was definitely someone that was a very, very nice guy," said another neighbor, who asked she not be identified. Knippers sat on the condo board and was friendly, giving neighbors a hello and how are you, she said.
"I feel like I'm a pretty good judge of character, but this was by far the most far-fetched thing I've ever heard," she said.
Knippers was around most nights and weekends. His arrest is a gigantic shock, she said.
Early on June 6, several marked and unmarked police cars came to Fieldstone Estates looking for Knippers, who was not home, she said.
Knippers is listed on the business networking site LinkedIn as a regional account manager at BeyondTrust, a Portsmouth software company that specializes in least-privilege management, which moves beyond the need to trust computer users with excess privileges or administrator passwords.
However, BeyondTrust's president and CEO, John Moyer, told UnionLeader.com this morning that Knippers has not worked there since October 2007.
Knippers previously worked at Intuit, which has offices in Waltham, Mass., and at Ecpra Software Corporation, according to LinkedIn. He attended Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla.
Other Internet postings has pictures of Knippers with fish he has caught. The biggest is a 6-pound, 3-ounce lunker he caught at Pawtuckaway State Park. On other sites, he gives fishing tips.
The charges stem from attacks on Oct. 8, 2005; Feb. 4, 2006; July 11, 2006; and Aug. 26, 2007, Brockton Lt. John Crowley, chief of detectives, told Enterprisenews.com
Authorities are now trying to force Knippers to provide a DNA sample.
"In one particular rape, he drove to a wooded area, struck the woman in the head with the flashlight, she fell and hit the front of her head on a rock," Crowley said. "He got some rope from the truck, tied her hands and feet, then raped her."
The arrest followed interviews with potential witnesses, hours of surveillance by police and forensic lab tests that initially linked the rapes. Investigators have been able to link the rapes through DNA evidence but were unable to identify a suspect through any databases.
In April, one of the rape victims called police to say she had just seen the man who attacked her and was able to obtain his license plate number, Crowley said.
"That was our break," he said.