Judge Rules Sufficient Evidence For Philly Hate Crime Defendants To Proceed To Trial

Judge Rules Sufficient Evidence For Philly Hate Crime Defendants To Proceed To Trial
Suspects Philip R. Williams, Kathryn G. Knott, and Kevin J. Harrigan

The three defendants in the September Philadelphia/Center City hate crime that left one of their victims with a broken jaw were present today in court for a hearing to determine if there was enough evidence to go to trial.

Accused of the vicious attack are 24-year-old Philip Williams of Warminster, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott of Southampton and 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan of Warrington. Among other crimes, they are charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy.

One of the victims, Zachary Hesse, took the stand to testify as to how the attack unfolded:

Hesse, who is 28, was next to take the stand. He gave emotional testimony about the assault, saying that the incident began when he was with his boyfriend on the way from getting frozen yogurt and walking to Mama Palma’s for pizza.

Hesse said that when the pair encountered the group at 16th and Chancellor, Harrigan asked, “Is that your fucking boyfriend?” “I said, ‘Yeah, that is my fucking boyfriend,” he testified. “‘Do you have a problem with that?'” Then he testified that Harrigan said, “‘So you’re a dirty fucking faggot?’ So I approached him and said, ‘Maybe I am a dirty fucking faggot.’ He pushed me, I pushed him.”

Then Hesse says that he was surrounded by the group. “I was terrified,” he testified. “It’s scary to have people surround you, and your arms are being held.”

While Nagle wasn’t able to make any identifications, Hesse was much more clear. He identified Harrigan as the man who first hit him in the head, Knott as the woman who “smacked or hit” him in the head and called him a “fucking faggot,” and Williams as the man who then hit Hesse again.

Hesse’s boyfriend received the brunt of the attack, suffering two broken cheekbones, according to prosecutors, which resulted in his having his jaw wired shut for nearly two months.

Also in attendance in the courtroom was Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims, as the attack took place in his district.

The Judge in today’s preliminary hearing ruled that the Commonwealth had met its initial burden against all three defendants. Formal arraignment in Common Pleas Court is scheduled for January 6th.

Stay tuned.