June July 2016
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Philly Gay-Basher Wins Chance to Appeal Sentence

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UPDATE: A Philadelphia judge has agreed to hold a hearing Tuesday, March 8, to "consider the merits" of a motion by Kathryn Knott's new attorney, requesting resentencing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The newspaper noted the judge did not grant William J. Brennan's request for a resentencing hearing; rather, Common Pleas Court Judge Roxanne Covington scheduled a hearing to consider his motion.

Brennan argued the 5-10 month sentence Knott received should be equal to the sentence two codefendants received in a plea deal. Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams were sentenced to probation last October by another judge.

Kathryn Knott, a member of the group of assailants that attacked a gay couple in Philadelphia's gayborhood in 2014, is requesting a change to the sentence of five to 10 months in jail she received last week, according to the Philly Voice. Knott's new attorney, Bill Brennan, has asked the court for a resentencing hearing, saying his client "has learned a lot in the 18 months" since the attack.

Knott, the daughter of a local suburban police chief, was convicted of simple assault, reckless endangerment, and conspiracy to commit simple assault after three days of jury deliberations. Two of her codefendants pleaded guilty and received probation for their role in the gay-bashing; Knott decided to go to trial and refused to accept the plea deal.

"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."

While Brennan is asking the court for more "rehabilitative" punishment for Knott, she was also sentenced to two years of probation, a $2,000 fine, and was ordered to attend anger management classes. It remains unclear what the attorney is seeking other than a get-out-of-jail-free card for his client.

"She's learned that words and actions have a much more far-reaching impact and effect than she ever thought possible," Brennan said, according to the Voice. "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."

During Knott's trial, the jury heard evidence that Knott had posted racist and antigay statements on Twitter and was conspicuous in her excessive alcohol consumption. Knott and her companions had just left a bar after celebrating a friend's birthday. Although Knott claimed in court she tried to intervene and stop the attack, witnesses testified the group left the couple bleeding on the sidewalk and continued on to another bar.

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