Judge agrees to hear resentencing motion in gay-bashing case [Updated]

Kathryn Knott arrives at the Criminal Justice Center with her mother, Carol Knott, for sentencing.

A Philadelphia judge Tuesday agreed to hear a resentencing motion in the case of Kathryn Knott, the Bucks County woman jailed for her participation in an attack on a gay couple in Center City in 2014.

Common Pleas Court Judge Roxanne Covington set a 9 a.m. hearing on March 14 "to consider the merits" of a motion filed by defense attorney William J. Brennan. The motion asks Covington to reconsider the five-to-10-month jail sentence she handed down to Knott last month.

The proceeding is not a resentencing hearing, but one in which the judge will consider the merits of the defense's request.

In the motion, Brennan argues there should be parity between the sentence Knott received and those given to her two codefendants.

Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams were sentenced to probation before another judge in October as part of plea deals.

Knott rejected a plea deal offered by the Commonwealth and took her case to trial.

She is currently serving her sentence at the Riverside Correctional Facility in Holmesburg.

Brennan has suggested that Knott could perform community service.

At Knott's Feb. 8 sentencing hearing, Covington ordered her immediate incarceration, two years' probation, a $2,000 fine, and anger-management treatment, and ordered Knott to stay away from Philadelphia during her probation unless required to come here.

Knott's trial attorney, Louis Busico, had argued for probation, saying she should get a similar sentence as her codefendants.

Prosecutors Michael Barry and Allison Ruth argued for a sentence of nine to 23 months in jail. Judge Covington's sentence was within the guideline range.

A jury in December convicted Knott, of Southampton, on four misdemeanor charges - simple assault, conspiracy to commit simple assault, and two counts of reckless endangerment. The panel acquitted her of felony charges of aggravated assault.

Knott, the daughter of Chalfont Borough Police Chief Karl Knott, had been part of a group of 15 friends who encountered the gay couple, Zachary Hesse and Andrew Haught, at 16th and Chancellor Streets about 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2014.

Harrigan began insulting the couple and punched Hesse, according to evidence at Knott's trial. In an ensuing scuffle, both victims were punched multiple times. Testimony indicated that Knott also punched Hesse and was among the people yelling an antigay slur at the couple.

Williams seriously injured Haught, knocking him to the ground, where he lay bleeding and semiconscious, according to trial testimony. Knott's group then left, heading to a bar.

In October, Williams, 25, of Warminster, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault; Harrigan, 27, of Warrington, pleaded guilty to simple assault. Under plea deals before Judge Frank Palumbo, Williams got five years of probation and Harrigan three. They were also sentenced to community service and banned from coming to Center City while on probation.




[Updated: This post has been updated to reflect that the hearing, originally scheduled for March 8, is now set for March 14.]