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Jurors examining charges in gay-bash trial

Kathryn Knott was charged with aggravated assault, related offenses in an attack last year on a gay couple in Center City.

NO VERDICT YET for Kathryn Knott, the 25-year-old woman accused of inciting and participating in an assault on a gay couple in Center City last year.

Jurors deliberated for a second day yesterday, and about 4:15 p.m. they wanted to go home.

The Philadelphia Common Pleas panel of eight women and four men will resume deliberations this morning.

Knott, 25, of Southampton, Bucks County, faces two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment. She also faces one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.

Yesterday, the panel asked Judge Roxanne Covington questions about reckless endangerment and conspiracy. The judge read them the law on the charges again, and explained accomplice liability.

Prosecutors Michael Barry and Allison Ruth contend that Knott punched one of the victims, Zachary Hesse, during the assault.

They also contend that she is responsible as a conspirator or an accomplice for actions committed by two other men in her group - Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams - who punched one or both of the victims. Prosecutors say Knott encouraged the vicious attack by yelling antigay slurs.

Defense attorney Louis Busico and defense witnesses have contended that Knott was merely present, and didn't punch anyone or yell any slurs.

It was about 10:30 p.m. Sept. 11, 2014, when Knott and 14 friends were walking north on 16th Street when Harrigan insulted a gay couple walking on Chancellor Street, just south of Walnut.

Hesse, 29, and his boyfriend, Andrew Haught, 28, have testified that Harrigan then started a fight. Hesse was punched multiple times. Prosecution witnesses implicated Knott as one of the people who punched him and yelled slurs at him.

Haught was seriously injured by Williams, who punched him multiple times. He suffered fractures in his jawbone and around his eye and was hospitalized for five days. Hesse said at a preliminary hearing last year that Williams also hit him.

In October, Williams, 25, of Warminster, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and conspiracy; Harrigan, 27, of Warrington, to simple assault and conspiracy.

Under plea deals, which the victims were OK with, both Bucks County men were sentenced to probation and were banned from coming to Center City during their probation.


On Twitter: @julieshawphilly