Witnesses in the trial of a woman accused in the assault of two gay men in Center City last September say they saw her throw punches.
Kathryn Knott’s attorney tried to discredit the witnesses by questioning the memory of something that happened more than a year ago.
The heart of the question in front of the jury is focused on whether Knott of Southampton in Bucks County joined her friends in assaulting the two men. Knott’s attorney maintains that she was a bystander to the violent act.
But on Friday, the district attorney’s office called 21-year-old witness Michelle Moore to the stand. She represents the second witness so far who has testified under oath that Knott, 25, was among the attackers.
Moore and two friends were waiting for the bus near 16th and Walnut streets when she heard a commotion that turned out to be the beating of Andy Haught and Zachary Hesse.
“A bunch of white kids all dressed nicely and arguing,” Moore told the jury.
The uproar was occurring by a dumpster on Chancellor Street, and the closer she got, the more it looked like a one-sided fight, Moore said.
Some of the nicely dressed kids who appeared to be together were punching Haught and Hesse, his boyfriend, Moore said.
Knott was unmistakably one of the perpetrators, she said. “I definitely seen one of the girls hit the guys,” Moore said, noting that homophobic slurs were being hurled at the victims during the attack.
Moore said the group of more than a dozen, who came into Philadelphia from Bucks County to celebrate a birthday, took off running toward Market Street, leaving Haught motionless and covered in blood while Hesse stumbled around.
A detective later testified that Knott and her friends went to another bar to continue drinking after the attack.
Defense attorney Louis Busico reminded Moore that her statement to police a year ago described the woman who was swinging as wearing a “black-and-white” dress, saying that Knott was not the only female present at the beating scene. Knott was wearing a white dress.
But Assistant District Attorney Michael Barry reminded the jury that Moore picked Knott’s face out of a lineup of eight young women.
Haught also took the stand on Friday. Under cross-examination from Busico, he said he’s sure Knott was using her fist to punch.
His glasses were knocked off in the incident, but that didn’t scramble his vision enough to mistake someone’s identity, Haught said. That prompted Busico to ask: “With your glasses off, how bad’s your vision?”
Following the beating, Haught, 28, had his jaw wired shut for eight weeks, during which he subsisted on broth and other liquid food. As a result, he said he lost 15 pounds. He said he still has a scar on his face from a large gash.
The two main defendants in the case, Kevin Harrington and Phillip Williams avoided jail time by accepting a plea deal. During a hearing, the two said they were not motivated by hatred toward gays, though the judge required them to serve community service at a center for gays and lesbians as part of their punishment.
The trial will continue Monday.