Courts Kathryn Knott
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Kathryn Knott

February 17, 2016

Kathryn Knott seeks resentencing hearing in gay-bashing conviction

The 25-year-old Bucks County woman 'has learned a lot,' says her new defense attorney

Kathryn Knott is asking Judge Roxanne Covington to grant her a resentencing hearing.

Attorney Bill Brennan, who replaced Knott's former defense attorney Louis Busico, filed a motion for reconsideration Wednesday with the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Covington sentenced Knott last week to 5-to-10 months in prison for her role in the 2014 beating of a gay couple in Center City. Knott also received two years of probation, a $2,000 fine and was ordered to attend anger management classes, keep out of Philadelphia County during her probation and stay away from the victims, Andrew Haught and Zachary Hesse.

Knott was taken to Riverside Correctional Facility immediately following her Feb. 8 sentencing hearing.

Brennan said late Wednesday afternoon that he is requesting the court consider alternatives to incarceration, contending that Knott's sentencing should be more rehabilitative and better attempt to heal the wounds caused by the assault.

"Frankly, my client will be out in a few months either way," Brennan said. "It's to establish dialogue with the community and begin to heal the wounds with the victims, the community and the city."

Knott, 25, of Upper Southampton, Bucks County, was convicted in December of simple assault, conspiracy and two counts of reckless endangerment for her role in the assault, which left Haught unconscious with broken cheekbones and a fractured jaw that needed to be wired shut for eight weeks. Hesse sustained minor facial bruises.

Brennan said Knott "has learned a lot in the 18 months," adding that the community and city could benefit from a sentence that includes community service or a public service announcement.

"She's learned that words and actions have a much more far-reaching impact and effect than she ever thought possible," Brennan said. "She learned that your life can change on a dime. I think, rather than warehouse her in jail for a few months and that be the end of it, perhaps some community service or a public service announcement might be more proactive and productive in addressing the larger issues that this case dealt with."

Knott's co-defendants, Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams, received lighter penalties when they accepted plea agreements in October. They each received probation, 200 hours of community service at an LGBT Center and a ban on entering Center City during their probationary period.

Knott was offered the same deal as Harrigan, which included three years of probation, according to Assistant District Attorney Mike Barry. But she opted to face trial and ended up with the most severe punishment. Barry said prosecutors offered plea deals to each of the defendants so the victims could avoid the trauma of a trial and receive an acknowledgment of guilt.

"None of that was done by Miss Knott," Barry told reporters after the sentencing hearing. "She refused that. That's why she finds herself where she is right now."

During Knott's sentencing hearing, Barry urged Covington to issue a sentence of 9-to-23 months in jail. He said incarceration was the only appropriate penalty, given the injuries sustained by the victims and the damage done to the city's reputation.