Paul Knott was a special dad who did everything for his two kids, made an impression on everyone he met and did not deserve his fate, says his daughter Jennifer.
“He took me to school, brought me home. He was a great father,” said Jennifer, who is upset at the defence expected to come from the man accused of murdering Knott, a Port aux Basques native, and another man.
“It’s not fair. It’s not fair at all.”
Convicted in 2008 of fatally shooting Darcy Manor in Mooers, N.Y., Glen Race, a mentally ill Nova Scotia man, faces murder charges in the 2007 deaths of Knott, 44, and Trevor Brewster, 45.
Race’s parents said this week he will plead not guilty because he wasn’t criminally responsible for his actions while in a psychotic state. They offered condolences to the victims’ families.
Jennifer noted Race went to the U.S. after allegedly killing her father and Brewster, and said she feels it would take a calculated act to flee across the border.
“He knew exactly what he was doing. … They are putting him in the spotlight, saying he is a good person and that the government didn’t help him (with his mental illness),” she charges.
Race, 29, diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2001, is to return to a Halifax-area court April 21, having undergone two psychiatric assessments since he was extradited from the U.S. in October.
Knott’s body was found on a path in southwestern Nova Scotia May 5, 2007, and Brewster’s body was found four days later under a boardwalk at a Halifax lake.
Although he is usually referred to as Michael Knott or Michael Paul Knott in the media, Knott went by his middle name, Jennifer said.
Although she has been reluctant to speak to the media, she talked to The Telegram this week and issued a brief statement Thursday asking that she be left alone while she attends court proceedings.
“I loved him dearly and miss him every minute of the day,” she said in the statement.
“I want to take this opportunity to say, that although the Races’ words were spoken kindly, and with respect, they are delayed. They do not appear to be sincere nor founded. I do not believe I need to forgive, as Mrs. Race suggested. I live every day without my father, knowing that I will never see him again, he will never walk me down the aisle or sit with me at Christmas dinner, and therefore, that loss I have experienced is unforgivable.
“I would also like to say, I just want this to be over, and I find it troubling that Glen Race is in a facility where his family has access to him, contact with him and visits regularly. In what kind of world is that fair, as I no longer have the luxury of speaking to or seeing my father?”
At 17, the handsome Paul Knott left Port aux Basques to join the Navy, serving as a cook until his retirement in 2003. Based out of Halifax, where he raised his family, Knott did two tours of duty in the Persian Gulf and served with NATO peacekeeping forces on the Israel/Sinai border.
Jennifer said her father loved spending time in his Halifax garden and had fixed up his home.
He doted on family get-togethers and would often make Jennifer’s favourite meal, chicken parmesan.
A year before he died, Knott helped Jennifer’s older brother, Andrew, move out West.
On a Facebook site dedicated to Knott and Brewster, Jennifer has written letters to her father telling him how much she misses him, discussing her classes and grades and reporting family news, often inquiring how things are going “up there,” a poignant way of keeping him in her day-to-day life.
She talks about Knott’s smile and thanks him for the advice he always gave her. And she apologizes for the drama of her teenage angst while he was alive, for the frantic text messages she sent when he went missing and for continuing to smoke even though he didn’t want her to take up the habit.
“I can feel it in my stomach, that somethin happened to you that night u dropped me off, but I tried to shake the feelin, but it kept gettin stronger and stronger, even when I called to police,” she writes to Knott.
“I will always need you, Daddy.”
Mark and Donna Race say they want their son, Glen, to stay in Canada after his trial, even though U.S. authorities expect him to return to an American prison to complete his sentence for the fatal shooting in upstate New York.
The family’s lawyer, Joel Pink, told a news conference he is considering a constitutional challenge aimed at keeping Race in Canada.
Race was arrested May 15, 2007, trying to cross the U.S. border into Mexico.
On Wednesday, Race’s mother said her son was a well-adjusted, second-year university student in 2001 when he started to withdraw from his family and friends, lost weight and started engaging in increasingly unusual behaviour, such as spending a week in the woods on his own.
She said he was quickly diagnosed, but she witnessed a great deal of bizarre behaviour over the next six years because he would stop taking his medication.
The family said they tried to have him treated involuntarily in 2007, but police and health officials said there was nothing they could do. The family said he is now on medication.
The murders made national headlines because they prompted a rare warning from police to the gay community in the Halifax area.
Jennifer Knott said she isn’t sure how her father would have known or encountered Race.
She said he and her mother were separated at the time of his murder, but they remained best friends.
“She took it the worst. He was still her husband and the father of her children,” Jennifer said.
with files from The Canadian Press