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March 01, 2016

Judge to hear motion to reconsider Kathryn Knott's jail sentence in Center City assault

Attorney: Recording 'public service announcement might be more proactive' than incarceration

Judge Roxanne Covington will hear a resentencing motion next week for Kathryn Knott, the Bucks County woman convicted of simple assault and related charges in the 2014 beating of a gay couple in Center City.

Last month, Covington sentenced Knott last month to 5-to-10 months in prison and two years of probation for her role in the beating, which left Andrew Haught unconscious and with a broken jaw that needed to be wired shut. Knott also received a $2,000 fine and was ordered to attend anger management classes, keep out of Philadelphia County during her probation and stay away from Haught and his partner, Zachary Hesse, who sustained minor facial bruises.

The motion was filed last month in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by attorney Bill Brennan, who replaced Louis Busico as Knott's defense lawyer.

Covington agreed to hear the motion on March 8 at 9 a.m. 

Knott, 25, of Upper Southampton, was one of three defendants charged in the beating. Her co-defendants, Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams, received lighter penalties when they accepted plea agreements in October. 

Knott opted to take her chances in court and ended up as the only member of the trio to receive any jail time. She was exonerated of aggravated assault charges against both victims, but found guilty of simple assault against Hesse, conspiracy and two counts of reckless endangerment.

She was taken to Riverside Correctional Facility in Holmesburg immediately following her Feb. 8 sentencing hearing.

Brennan said last month that he is requesting the court consider alternatives to incarceration, contending that Knott's sentencing should be more rehabilitative and a 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."

Brennan has said Knott "has learned a lot in the 18 months" between the incident and the trial, 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."

Harrigan and Williams each received sentences that included probation, 200 hours of community service at an LGBT Center and a ban on entering Center City during their probationary period.