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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Graig Graziosi

Oklahoma man convicted of beating and strangling friend to death because he thought he’d summoned Bigfoot to eat him


An Oklahoma man has received a life sentence after he was convicted of murdering a friend he believed had "summoned Bigfoot."

Larry Doil Sanders, 55, was sentenced to life in a state correctional facility without a chance for parole for the killing of Jimmy Knighten in 2022, according to court records.

Sanders was found guilty on one count of first-degree murder connected to Knighten's death at a nonjury bench trial in April, Law & Crime reports.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office and Pontotoc County Sheriff's Office received calls for a possible homicide on July 10 2022. That ultimately was the day that Knighten's body was discovered.

The deputies, along with the assistance of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, began questioning Sanders, who reportedly confessed that he and Knighten had been friends, but that he had killed him.

According to Sanders, he and Knighten left for a "noodling" trip on July 9 in the South Canadian River when a "confrontation ensued." Sanders reportedly told law enforcement that he hit and strangled Knighten, killing him.

Noodling is a popular fishing method in the US South. Anglers will use their arms as bait, allowing fish — often catfish — to swallow their arms up past their wrists. The anglers then lift the fish out of the water once it’s clamped down onto their arm.

Law enforcement caught up to Sanders on 9 July. Investigators said they found him telling another family member about how he'd just killed Knighten.

When asked why he killed a man he had reportedly considered a friend, Sanders said was afraid that Knighten had "summoned Bigfoot" to kill and eat him.

“So, his statement was that Mr. Knighten had summoned ‘Bigfoot’ to come and kill him, and that’s why he had to kill Mr. Knighten,” Sheriff John Christian said.

Bigfoot, also known as a Sasquatch, is a mythical human-like creature said to live in the forests of North America.

During his defense trial, Sanders took the stand and revealed that not only did he believe Knighten had powers to summon Bigfoot, but that he actually saw the 12-foot creature standing downstream from him in the river where the men were noodling.

Sanders said Knighten was pressuring him to submerge himself and catch a fish, and claims he saw the man howl into a drainage pipe. Sanders said he was afraid that when he dove underwater, Knighten would hold him down, drown him, and then feed his body to Bigfoot.

The tensions reportedly led to a physical fight later that afternoon, which ended with Knighten dead.

Sanders' defense attorneys argued that he acted in self defense and had only been trying to gain control of the conflict when he strangled Knighten, not kill him.

He was ultimately found guilty by Pontotoc County District Court Judge C Steven Kessinger.

“Yes, there was a monster in the woods that night, but it wasn’t Bigfoot, it was Larry Sanders,” District Attorney Erik Johnson told KXII after the conviction.

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