© 2024 University of Missouri - KBIA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Boone County prosecutor found dead at home Saturday morning

Brad Racino
Columbia Missourian
Former Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren swears in Dan Knight as county prosecuting attorney Jan. 1, 2011, at the Boone County Government Center. He worked at the Boone County Prosecutor’s Office for 29 years.

Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight was found dead Saturday morning in his home off Memorial Court, according to Columbia police.

Police were called to Knight’s house around 9:35 a.m. for an apparent gunshot death.

Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones confirmed Knight was the victim and said he suspected no foul play was involved.

“It’s a sad day,” Jones said as the news conference held near Knight’s home ended.

Jones said the criminal investigations division and investigators within the Police Department will conduct a thorough investigation. Until then, no further details about the inquiry will be released.

Jones said the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine whether an autopsy is needed.

“As far as our investigation, I think the majority of that will be completed today,” Jones said.

Jones confirmed that Animal Control was dispatched to the residence after the police officers’ arrival and that they removed dogs from the home.

With Columbia police having worked closely with Knight during his 15 years as county prosecutor, Jones said the department is in shock after his death.

“Dan was very involved in his work,” Jones said. “When he got a hold of a case, he really tried to do it as perfectly as he could. We’ll miss that.”

For 29 years, Knight worked at the Boone County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, serving as an assistant prosecutor and first assistant prosecutor before being elected as prosecuting attorney in 2007.

Knight announced in February he wouldn’t seek reelection for prosecuting attorney, citing intentions to run for Boone County Circuit Court judge in 2024 instead.

“From the time I started working here, I have loved my job because I have had the opportunity to do the right thing every single day,” Knight told the Missourian in February.

Among the thousands of criminal cases and several murder prosecutions he handled throughout his career, Knight most recently led the prosecutor’s office in the conviction of Joseph Elledge in 2021. Elledge received a 28-year sentence for the second-degree murder of his wife, Mengqi Ji, who had been reported missing in October 2019 before her body was found at Rock Bridge State Park in 2021.

Born and raised in Columbia, Knight graduated from Hickman High School in 1985 and later attended MU, where he received an undergraduate degree in business administration. In 1992, Knight graduated from the MU School of Law. He was hired by the prosecutor’s office that September.

“I’ve known Danny Knight since he was a teenager. I had the privilege of practicing law with his father for 24 years, so I know the family well,” Boone County Presiding Commissioner Daniel Atwill said. “He was a very dedicated prosecutor; he worked extremely hard and took his cases seriously.”

Knight’s term as prosecutor was set to end Dec. 31. Roger Johnson, former assistant attorney general and Boone County’s first assistant prosecutor, announced his candidacy for Knight’s seat in February.