NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A Newark man pleaded guilty to severely beating and trying to rape a female Rutgers student, authorities announced on December 5. 

Michael P. Knight, 39 of Newark, will spend up to 22 years behind bars as part of a plea deal for admitting to his involvement in the incident, according to a statement from Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.

At 3:30 a.m. on May 4, 2016, Knight followed the woman and attacked her near College Avenue and Seminary Place on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus, according to Carey. 

Sign Up for E-News

Knight struck the victim on the head, severely beat her and dragged her to the side of the building, where he attempted to sexually assault her, Carey said.

When a group of people intervened, Knight fled, according to Carey, and stated that he had a gun and would shoot one of the men who was attempting to chase him.

The woman was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where she was treated for her injuries and then released.

Days later, Knight was identified as the attacker, and Middlesex County authorities stated that he was being sought in connection was the incident.

Knight then promptly turned himself in to the Newark police.

Under a plea agreement with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Allysa Gambarella, Knight will be sentenced to 22 years in a New Jersey state prison subject to the No Early Release Act.

This means that Knight has to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he can be released on parole. Once released, Knight will have to register as a Megan’s Law sex offender and undergo parole supervision for the remainder of his life.

The sentence is expected to be imposed by Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Paone at a hearing on March 5, 2018.

Editor Daniel J. Munoz,