A Philadelphia jury ended its first day of deliberations Wednesday without a verdict in the trial of a woman charged with joining in the gay-bashing attack on a same-sex couple, reports Philadelphia TV station WPVI.
Defendant Kathryn Knott of Bucks County, Pa., not only denied taking part in the attack on the two men, she told the court she tried to stop it.
As they considered assault, reckless endangerment, and conspiracy charges against the 25-year-old daughter of her hometown police chief, the jurors reportedly asked to review video and photos of the scene in Philadelphia's City Center neighborhood, where in September 2014 as many as 15 people confronted and beat Zachary Hesse and his boyfriend, Andrew Haught.
Two men who were arrested with Knott are on probation after cutting a plea deal with prosecutors, therefore avoiding trial.
Taking the the stand in her own defense Tuesday, Knott told jurors that she did not shout slurs at the victims and did not throw a single punch. That contradicts the testimony of several witnesses who WPVI reported swore they saw Knott, wearing a white dress, throw a punch during the melee.
Claiming she attempted to prevent one man from striking Haught, Knott testified, "I didn't want anyone getting hurt, I was trying to calm the situation," reports Philadelphia Magazine.
Knott also told the jurors, "I didn't want to see anyone get hurt. ... I turned and ran the other way," when she saw one of the men punch one of the victims, according to the Philly Voice. Knott testified that she did not hear anyone in the group use the slur "faggot” at any point.
What Knott did admit, according to WPVI, is that she has in the past used slurs in tweets, entered into evidence against her, that are decidedly antigay.
In one tweet with a few misspelled words, she wrote, "@krissstenxoxo the ppl we were just dancing with just turned and mafe out with eatch other #gay #ew,” according to the Voice.
Knott testified it was the public display of affection, not the sexuality of the couple, that disgusted her. She said the hashtag "gay" was her way of describing the situation, not intended to be derogatory.
She testified that the tweet "Jazz flute is for little fairy boys" referenced a line from the film Anchorman and also was not intended as a slur, reports the Voice. Knott said that she used the word "gay" in another tweet to describe a song by Brad Paisley that, in her words, was lame. She testified that she does not find gay people themselves disgusting nor does she frequently use the term "dyke,” which came up in one of her tweets,
Under cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Mike Barry, Knott said "dyke" was not a hateful word and that she didn't see it as a slur. "I think our interpretation of words is different," Knott said. "What's said there is not demeaning to anyone." Knott also said, since she's used it in the past, that "it's OK" to use the word "gay" to mean something uncool. "I just used it in a very loose way," she said. "I didn't mean it in a derogatory way."
The jury is set to resume deliberations Thursday. If convicted, Knott faces serveral years behind bars.
Click below to watch a report from Philadelphia TV station WPVI.