The trial of a Bucks County woman accused of attacking a gay couple in Center City began Thursday with one side painting the defendant as an innocent bystander and the other as an established homophobe, reports said.
Kathryn Knott, 25, was coming from a birthday dinner at La Viola West on Sept. 11, 2014 when the group she was with ran into a gay couple — Zachary Hesse, 28, and Andrew Haught, 27, according to media reports.
Gay slurs and obscenities were hurled, followed by shoving and punching during the encounter near 16th and Chancellor streets. Both gay men were injured, with Haught’s eye socket and jaw broken.
Knott was charged with two others, also Bucks County residents — Philip Williams, 25,and Kevin Harrigan, 27, according to Philly.com.
Williams and Harrigan both pleaded guilty to assault and conspiracy, and were sentenced to probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service with an LGBT organization, Philly.com said. They were also banned from Center City during their probation.
In opening trial statements Thursday, defense attorney Louis R. Busico said “being present while some other people commit a crime is not a crime,” according to Philly.com. She added that evidence will show that Knott didn’t throw any punches and that the incident got out of hand when one of the gay men hit a woman.
Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Allison Ruth not only described in her opening remarks the devastating injuries that the victims suffered, but also the language that proceeded the attack, according to Phlly Voice.
“You dirty f—ing f—t. Is that your f—ing boyfriend?” Ruth said. “That’s how this attack started on Zack Hesse and Andrew Haught. That’s how it started. And Zack and Andrew were just walking down the street.”
Ruth also said that she will present tweets from Knott’s account showing a history of her using homophobic language before the attack.
“These tweets show how she feels about gay people,” Ruth said, according to Philly Voice. “She uses these terms in derogatory manners… Other people just stood there. She got involved.”
The defense will argue that the tweets were posted years before the assault and are being taken out of context, Philly Voice reported.