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Suspect In Philadelphia Gay Attack Guilty Of Assault, But May Avoid Jail Time

Kathryn Knott was acquitted of the most serious charges in the 2014 attack.

A Pennsylvania jury has delivered a split verdict in the case against Kathryn Knott, who stood accused of assaulting a gay couple in Philadelphia last year. 

Knott, 25, was convicted Dec. 18, of three misdemeanors but acquitted of four other counts in the Sept. 11, 2014 beating case, NBC reports. She was found guilty of simple assault and conspiracy to commit simple assault against Zachary Hesse, one of two victims, as well as reckless endangerment against Hesse and his partner, Andrew Haught.

Still, Knott, who is the daughter of Chalfont, Pennsylvania, Police Chief Karl Knott, may have escaped jail time, as the jury acquitted her on aggravated assault charges, which are considered a felony. 

Knott reportedly sobbed after the verdict was read. She will remain free on bail until her Feb. 8 sentencing, 6ABC news reports. Although sentencing guidelines on Knott’s three misdemeanors call for probation, she could get up to two years in jail. 

The verdict comes a day after a man claiming to be Knott’s gay cousin posted an urgent message on Facebook, arguing that she was not a homophobe, Towleroad reported. That post was subsequently read in court on Dec. 17. 

“This is a girl who loves so kindly that even my young and confused self could find comfort in her presence,” Tim Perkins, 19, wrote in the note, which has since been deleted, according to the Bonham Journal.  

In 2014, Knott was charged alongside Kevin Harrigan, 26, and Phillip Williams, 24, in the beating of Hesse and Haught. Knott was the only one of the three accused to insist on going to trial, as both Harrigan and Williams pleaded guilty to accept a very generous plea deal, according to The New Civil Rights Movement. Both men were sentenced to probation in October. 

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