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Kathryn Knott's gay bashing may have created a ripple effect throughout the city, but this morning, her sentence still remained.
Judge Roxanne Covington denied a motion for Knott to receive a lighter sentence than the 5 to 10 months she originally got for her role in the Sept. 2014 beating of a gay couple in Center City.
"As injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, hatred toward any group is no different than hatred toward all of us," Covington said at the conclusion of court with her soft voice. "Every single one of us has a right to be who we are, to love who we want and to walk down the street and enjoy the city safely, without fear of ridicule, of torture, of attack."
Knott was convicted of simple assault, reckless endangerment, conspiracy and other related charges on Feb. 8. She was acquitted of any felonies. Co-defendants Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams took plea bargins, which includes doing community service at a LGBTQ organization.
William J. Brennan, Knott's attorney, asked Covington to consider something less than incarceration - like house arrest at her home in Fox Chase or a public service announcement.
Since being at Riverside Correctional Facility for two months, Brennan said that Knott is well into anger management and is spending her time cleaning bathrooms, toilets and showers. Also, Brennan said that Knott is following prison guidelines.
Brennan said it would be disrespectful for him to ignore "the community" that Knott affected. Covington disagreed - saying this was a case that did not just affect a community, but the city as a whole. Her argument was supported on social media. There wouldn't be a Facebook event page to attend the hearing this morning if Knott's actions didn't cause a stir.
Brennan pointed out that two of Knott's fellow gay bashers received no time in prison. The defense lawyer begged Covington to let Knott no longer be a face of hate but to do something provocative to make amends.
"Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer, and he said, 'Mercy bears richer fruit than justice serves,'" Brennan said. "Knott has to do something that reaches out to the community, an opportunity to heal the wounds."
But the prosecutor disagreed.
"Nothing new has happened," stated Assistant District Attorney Allison Ruth.
Ruth garbled her speech to demonstrate how Zachary Haught, one of the victims, spoke with his mouth wired shut for 8 weeks. Also, serving her time and cleaning toilets isn't anything Knott should get credit for, Ruth said. As for Brennan's suggestion of doing a public service announcement, Ruth stated that idea was both offensive and ridiculous.
Both Ruth and Covington noted Knott's flaky sense of remorse during her testimony.
"Knott showed complete disconnection," Covington said. "She had no comprehension of the offensiveness in her commentary on her tweets."
Knott still has time to appeal, but as for now, back to Riverside she goes.
Shealyn can be reached at email@example.com