Gay-bashing case moves forward


A preliminary arraignment was held this week for three people accused of attacking a gay couple in Center City this past fall.


The charges against Kathryn Knott, Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams were officially read in court Tuesday, and the case was listed with the Court of Common Pleas. None of the defendants was present.

A pre-trial conference was scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 5 in Room 905 of the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert St., before Common Pleas Judge Frank Palumbo. The proceeding is open to the public.

The three are charged with two counts each of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and one count of conspiracy in connection with the Sept. 11 attack on Zachary Hesse and Andrew Haught.

The gay couple was walking near 16th and Chancellor streets when they encountered a group of people, one of whom, identified in court as Harrigan, made antigay remarks before punching Hesse. Hesse said Knott clawed at his face, repeatedly calling him a faggot, and after he pushed her hand away, Williams attacked Haught, breaking his cheekbones. He had to have his jaw wired shut for two months.

A judge last month upheld all charges against the three, who have been out on bail since shortly after their Sept. 24 arrest. In the fall, Philadelphia adopted an LGBT-inclusive hate-crime law, but none of the defendants can be charged under it, since it was enacted after the incident. However, at last month’s preliminary hearing, assistant district attorney Michael Barry, who is prosecuting the case, emphasized that the suspects’ alleged anti-LGBT animus was a primary factor in the crime, and served as the basis for the conspiracy charge.

Barry told PGN this week that a trial is not expected until at least later this year.

“It’s safe to say it won’t happen in the next couple months,” Barry said.