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July 12, 2016

Kathryn Knott released from prison after serving minimum sentence in Philly gay-bashing case

Kathryn Knott was released from prison Tuesday after serving five months for her role in assaulting a gay couple in Center City two years ago.

Judge Roxanne Covington granted a motion for parole, according to court documents. Knott, 25, of Upper Southampton, Bucks County, served the minimum amount of prison time on her sentence.

She now must serve two years of probation, during which she is forbidden from entering Philadelphia except for court or probation matters. Her sentence also included $2,000 in fines.

Knott was among three defendants charged with beating Andrew Haught and Zachary Hesse as the couple walked through Center City on Sept. 11, 2014. Haught was knocked unconscious, suffering a broken jaw that needed to be wired shut for about two months. Hesse sustained minor facial injuries. 

Knott, who was part of a group of 15 people that encountered the couple after celebrating a friend's birthday in Center City, was the only defendant to serve prison time. Her co-defendants, Philip Williams and Kevin Harrigan, accepted plea deals that included probation and 200 hours of community service at an LGBT Center. 

Knott elected to face trial and was convicted of simple assault against Hesse, two counts of reckless endangerment and one conspiracy count. She was acquitted of simple assault against Haught and two counts of aggravated assault, the most serious offenses.

Knott remains a defendant in a pair of civil cases, including one brought by Haught and Hesse. The other accuses Knott, her father Karl and Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler of retaliating against a Norristown woman who posted critical comments online about Kathryn Knott. At the time, Karl Knott was police chief in Chalfont Borough, Bucks County. He is now captain of the Central Bucks Regional Police Department.

Covington previously denied a request by Knott to reconsider her prison sentenceHer defense attorney, Bill Brennan, asked Knott be placed on house arrest, arguing for parity among the sentences handed out to Knott, Harrigan and Williams. 

The unsuccessful request came after Knott had served about one month at Riverside Correctional Facility in Holmesburg.