The daughter of a Pennsylvania police chief wept in court today upon learning a jury had convicted her of misdemeanor assault but acquitted her of the most serious charges in last year’s attack on a gay couple, according to various media reports.
Kathryn Knott was found not guilty on four counts, including aggravated assault on each of the two men who were savagely beaten by a mob in Philadelphia in September 2014, according to Philly TV station WPVI. After deliberating for three days, the jury convicted the 25-year-old woman of simple assault, reckless endangerment, and conspiracy to commit simple assault. Knott sobbed as she huddled with her parents in court after the verdict.
Knott remains free on bail until her sentencing on February 8. Under guidelines for misdemeanors, she could get up to two years in jail, but probation is what’s typical for those crimes.
Two male codefendants made a deal with prosecutors and were sentenced to probation after pleading guilty in October.
The September 11 attack on Zachary Hesse and his boyfriend, Andrew Haught, left Hesse hospitalized with a broken jaw and cheekbones, resulting in his jaw being wired shut. The case prompted the Philadelphia City Council to unanimously pass a hate-crimes law in November 2014. Pennsylvania still lacks statewide nondiscrimation protections for LGBT people, while hate-crimes legislation has stalled in the state legislature.
Knott testified in her own defense earlier this week, denying she shouted slurs at the men or threw a punch in the assault. She told the jury she tried to stop the attack and when she couldn’t, she ran away.
This is a developing story, so check back for updates.
Watch a report from Philadelphia TV station WPVI below.