Philly Gay-Bashing Victims File Civil Lawsuit Against Attackers

The two men who were the victims of a violent gay-bashing in September of 2014 in Philadelphia have filed a civil lawsuit against their attackers.

Both victims say that in addition to their physical injuries, they suffered psychological injury, emotional distress and embarrassment.

From PhillyMag.com:

Earlier this week, Zachary Hesse and Andrew Haught filed a civil suit against Kathryn Knott, Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams for their roles in the attack.

Harrigan and Williams both escaped jail time when they pleaded guilty last year to simple assault and conspiracy and aggravated assault and conspiracy, respectively, while Knott was convicted by a jury of simple assault, conspiracy, and two counts of recklessly endangering another person. She is currently serving a sentence of five to ten months at Riverside Correctional Facility in Northeast Philadelphia, imposed in February.

The suit, filed by the prominent Center City law firm Kline & Specter, seeks unspecified damages. Neither the plaintiffs’ attorneys nor the defendants were immediately available for comment.

One of the men attacked, Andrew Haught, had injuries so severe he needed emergency surgery and spent five days in the hospital. He suffered a fractured jaw bone and orbital bone, and permanent facial scarring, in addition to other injuries. His jaw was wired shut for eight weeks.

Philadelphia: Three Accused In Vicious Hate Crime Due In Court October 15

Kevin Harrigan (left), Philip Williams (center) and Kathryn Knott

It looks like October 15th will be the day Philadelphia will see if the three young haters who attacked and beat two gay men (leaving one with a shattered jaw for weeks)  in Center City will get justice or a slap on the wrist

From Philly.com:

Kevin Harrigan, 27, of Warrington; Philip Williams, 25, of Warminster; and Kathryn Knott, of Southampton, who turns 25 Friday, are charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy and related offenses in the Sept. 11, 2014, clash at 16th and Chancellor streets.

Michael Barry, chief of the district attorney’s central division bureau, said Thursday that there have been ongoing negotiations with the defense attorneys. He said he expects the three defendants to enter guilty pleas on Oct. 15, when the case is next listed in the Criminal Justice Center.

Barry, though, would not comment on the details of the plea offers or what charges he expects the defendants may plead guilty to. He said there is not yet any plea agreement in place.

Barry said that on Oct. 15, “either the defendants will plead guilty” or their case will be “spun out for trial.”

“I do expect them to plead guilty,” he said.

He said one main reason the three defendants have not been in court each time for pretrial conferences was because “as part of their bail, they are banned from Center City.”

Williams’ attorney, Fortunato “Fred” Perri Jr., confirmed afterward that he and his client “are currently reviewing a plea offer that’s been extended by the District Attorney’s Office.”

Asked if he expects Williams to plead guilty on Oct. 15, Perri said: “No decisions have been made yet.” But he added, “We think it’s a fair offer.”

Harrigan’s attorney, Joshua Scarpello, also confirmed that there have been plea negotiations.

“We’re trying to work it out,” he said. The terms of a possible plea are “not yet set in stone.”

He also said of the three defendants: “They have not been offered the same deal.” Each defense attorney, he said, is “trying to do the best for his client.”

Lawyers For Philadelphia Gay Bashers Request Continuance To Haggle Over Plea Deal

Philip R. Williams (left), Kathryn G. Knott (middle) and Kevin J. Harrigan (right)

According to The Advocate, the lawyers of the three young anti-gay haters accused of attacking two gay men in Philadelphia – leaving one of the men with a shattered jaw that had to be wired shut for months – have asked for a continuance in court as they pursue a plea deal to avoid jail time.

Reports say the District Attorney’s office has offered all three alleged assailants plea deals but has so far refused to make the details public. It is unknown whether the agreements would allow the three to avoid prison time and walk free.

Prosecutor Michael Barry told Philly Gay News this week that the continuance request was granted because “there are still some discussions regarding a non-trial disposition ongoing.”

The three accused – Kevin Harrigan, Kathryn Knott and Philip Williams – will be back in court on September 17th to face charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and conspiracy. I guess we’ll know by then if the young haters get to walk free.

Alleged Philadelphia Gay-Bashers Offered Plea Deal

Defendants Kevin Harrigan, Kathryn Knott and Philip Williams

Ten months after allegedly leading the attack on a gay couple that hospitalized both victims and left one with a shattered jaw and cheekbones, the suspects in the Philly hate crime (Kevin Harrigan, Kathryn Knott and Philip Williams) have plea deals in hand.

From PhillyMag:

Sources on both sides of the case confirm that all three suspects now have plea offers in hand and that they are are weighing their options.

“On behalf of my client, we are reviewing a plea offer from the District Attorney,” says Williams’ attorney Fortunato Perri. Williams stands accused of punching both victims, Zachary Hesse and Andrew Haught, according to court documents. Haught suffered the greatest injuries, requiring hospitalization.

Louis Busico, attorney for Kathryn Knott, says that he’s “always happy to have open lines of communication” with prosecutors but wouldn’t say whether Knott is going to take the deal. While Williams and Harrigan were allegedly the more physical aggressors, it was Knott who received the brunt of public backlash after homophobic rants were found on her Twitter feed.

Harrigan’s attorney, Josh Scarpello, did not return calls seeking comment. According to an affidavit of probable cause in the case, Harrigan initiated the confrontation when he called the victims “faggots,” and he struck Hesse.

Cameron Kline, spokesperson for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, says that the office does not comment on plea offers but tells us that if convicted on all charges, the maximum sentence could be as high as 34 to 68 years in prison, though no one expects that the judge would hand out anywhere near the maximum sentence, especially considering that these are first offenses.

None of the attorneys nor the D.A.’s office would comment on the specifics of the plea offer, so we asked prominent Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Chuck Peruto to walk us through the thought process.

“If they can tell who did what exactly, a good deal for the guy that did the most damage is two to four years state time,” says Peruto. “And the ones that did minimal damage, maybe 11-1/2 to 23 months in county. If my clients got an offer like that, they’d probably take it. This is Philadelphia and you don’t want a gay-bashing case as a criminal defense attorney. There are a lot of gay people here, and you can’t tell who is gay on your jury.”

Each suspect has been charged with conspiracy and two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. They remain free on bail.

Last Thursday, the case was continued so that the defendants could consider the plea offers. If no plea deal is made, Busico says he expects jury selection to begin in September or October.

Accused Center City Gay Bashers Look To Have Charges Dropped

Lawyers for the three accused gay bashers in Center City last September plan to ask the court to reduce or throw out charges at a pre-trial hearing on April 16th.

Of course, sinners in hell want ice water, but that’s not happening either.

Via CBS News:

The three defendants — Kevin Harrigan, Philip Williams and Kathryn Knott — all of whom are in their mid 20’s, appeared with their lawyers for the status hearing.

At the preliminary hearing stage in December, a Municipal Court judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to prosecute them on aggravated assault, conspiracy, and other charges.

Defense lawyer Louis Busico, who represents the 24-year-old Knott, says all of the defendants maintain their innocence:

“Perhaps some of the charges may never see a courtroom, or they all may. That’s the purpose of reviewing discovery.”

The three are charged with two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of simple assault, two counts of recklessly endangering another person and one count of conspiracy.

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.

Philadelphia: Victims Issue Statement On Gay-bashing Incident in Center City

Alleged gay-bashers Philip Williams (L), Kathryn Knott, and Kevin Harrigan

The gay couple who were the victims of a violent gay-bashing incident on September 11th in Center City have given a statement to the public about the attack

Here is the statement which was read to supporters at a rally earlier this week (via Gay Star News):

“Everyone keeps saying that they are sorry this happened to us. But the truth is, we’re sorry. We feel sorry for our attackers – people who believed it was OK, cool, maybe even funny, to use two innocent individuals as their punching bags and not even have the decency to apologize. Words are powerful. A simple, I’m sorry, would’ve went a long way with us,’ they stated.

“You butchered my boyfriend’s beautiful face. You violated our rights. You jeopardized our health and safety in a city that we love and during a time where so much progress around human rights has been made. … We are also determined to do everything in our power to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else again.

“It stops here. It stops today. It stops now.”

Three suspects have been charged in the attack that resulted in both victims being hospitalized; one victim suffered a broken orbital bone and a shattered jaw.

The suspects – Kevin Harrigan, Kathryn Knott, and Philip Williams – are due in court December 16th for a preliminary hearing. After extensive interviews with witnesses, the victims and other “persons of interest,” the three have been charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person.

Philadelphia Gay-Bashing Suspects Mugshots Released

The Philadelphia gay-bashing suspects turned themselves in to police earlier today, and now their mugshots have been released.

From Philadelphia Magazine:

From left, they are: 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan of Warrington; 24-year-old Kathryn Knott of Southampton; and 24-year-old Philip Williams of Warminster.

All three defendants are charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person.

In related news, Lou Nuscio, lawyer for Kathryn Knott, spoke on talk radio 1201 WPHT today saying not only is she innocent of the violent charges, “she couldn’t bust a grape.”

She is a gentle, kind person who was never in trouble before. She has zero animus to anybody, let alone somebody of a particular group or persuasion. This young woman, on her best day, couldn’t bust a grape. She hurt no one. She struck no one. Simply stated, she didn’t do this.”

Buscio went on to say that the media is making a bigger deal out of this violent episode than it is since “this is an event that happens a hundred times a day in cities throughout our country. It’s a simple assault case.”

I’m not so sure about the “zero animus to anybody” part of her lawyer’s statements.  That may be difficult to prove in court in light of Knott’s Twitter account which shows several posts where she appears to be not only homophobic but racist.  She also seems to have used her father’s connections to get back at someone who cut her off while driving.  See below: