Harrigan, Knott and Williams (Photos: Philadelphia Police Department).
The daughter of a Philadelphia-area police chief on Friday was convicted of simple assault in a violent attack lodged against a gay couple in Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood last year.
Following three days of deliberation, a jury found Kathryn Knott guilty of simple assault, reckless endangerment and conspiracy to commit simple assault — all misdemeanors — but acquitted her on four counts of felony aggravated assault, meaning she will likely not serve jail time. While technically Knott could serve up to two years in prison for the misdemeanor charges, sentencing guidelines usually call for probation, Philadelphia TV station ABC6 reports. She will remain free on bail until her sentencing, which has been scheduled for Feb. 8, 2016.
Knott’s co-conspirators in the attack, Philip Williams and Kevin Harrigan, avoided jail time when they accepted a plea deal that required them to stay away from Center City — Williams for five years and Harrigan for three years — and to perform community service for an LGBT organization.
Williams, Harrigan and Knott were part of a group of young adults who confronted the gay couple after one of the men accidentally bumped into one of the girls in the group. The group then began yelling anti-gay epithets while Williams and Harrigan attacked the couple. Knott also injected herself into the fight. One of the victims was so severely hurt that he had to have his jaw wired shut for two months following the incident.
Witnesses testified that Knott was the blonde in a white dress who threw a punch during the attack. But Knott claimed that she had never shouted slurs at the victims or thrown a punch, saying she only moved towards them to intervene.
Williams and Harrigan previously said the altercation did not stem from homophobia, and a gay cousin of Kathryn Knott took to Facebook
to plead on his cousin’s behalf, saying he does not know her to be a homophobic person. But some of Knott’s previous tweets were used as evidence alleging that she had demonstrated an anti-gay bias in the past.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams told NBC10 Philadelphia
that he considered Knott’s conviction a victory.
“Kathryn Knott’s actions on that night in September of 2014 were disgusting and what she did hurt all of us, especially the LGBTQ community,” he said in a statement. “Hate has no place in this great city of ours; not in Center City, not in the Gayborhood and not on one of our neighborhood street corners — from north to south and from east to west.”