Judge won't reduce jail term for woman's role in gay attack

AP News
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Posted: Mar 14, 2016 12:26 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A judge refused to cut the jail sentence imposed on a suburban police chief's daughter in an attack on a gay couple after finding "a complete disconnect" between her apology and the seriousness of the crime.

Kathryn Knott will continue to serve a five- to 10-month jail term for simple assault and other misdemeanors. Two male co-defendants — one of whom left a victim with a broken jaw — got probation, but the judge noted that Knott rejected a plea offer designed to spare the victims the ordeal of a trial.

The attack broke out as Knott and nearly a dozen suburban friends left a birthday dinner in downtown Philadelphia and encountered the victims as they walked to get pizza in September 2014. The defendants hurled slurs at the couple before punching and beating them.

Knott's co-defendants insisted the brawl did not stem from any anti-gay sentiments.

But Knott's prior social media posts showed an antagonism toward gays, non-English speakers and even patients at the hospital where she worked. News coverage of the posts cost her that job.

After Knott was sent to jail last month, her parents hired a new lawyer to have the judge reconsider the sentence.

Common Pleas Judge Roxanne Covington stood firm Monday, finding the sentence appropriate given the injuries to both the victims and the city's image.

"She showed a complete disconnect from the incident itself and a failure to take personal responsibility for the crimes," Covington said.

Defense lawyer William J. Brennan argued that Knott has learned from the experience and should not be punished for going to trial.

The attack led the city to add sexual orientation to its hate crime laws.