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Philly Gay Bashing Suspects Held On All Charges, Will Be Back In Court On January 6

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The three suspects accused in a heinous attack on a gay couple in Philadelphia on September 11 will stand trial on charges of felony assault and conspiracy, among other charges, Philadelphia Magazine reports. As previously reported, the defendants are 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott, and 24-year-old Philip Williams. Today's preliminary hearing was to determine whether the prosecution had met the burden of proof required to charge and try the defendants. Judge Charles Hayden Found they had:

The defendants, who previously pleaded not guilty and remain out on bail, appeared in the courtroom with their families, with Knott’s mother crying throughout many points of the proceeding. State Representative Brian Sims was also in attendance in the courtroom, which was crowded but not full.

Two witnesses testified today for the prosecution. Geoff Nagle observed the attack from a third floor window and stated that he heard "cursing and yelling in male and female voices, including language such as 'fucking faggot.'" The other witness was one of the two victims, Zachary Hesse:

Hesse said that when the pair encountered the group at 16th and Chancellor, Harrigan asked, "Is that your fucking boyfriend?" "I said, 'Yeah, that is my fucking boyfriend," he testified. "'Do you have a problem with that?'" Then he testified that Harrigan said, "'So you're a dirty fucking faggot?' So I approached him and said, 'Maybe I am a dirty fucking faggot.' He pushed me, I pushed him."

Then Hesse says that he was surrounded by the group. "I was terrified," he testified. "It's scary to have people surround you, and your arms are being held."

Before closing the hearing Judge Hayden wished all of the defendants "good luck."

Formal arraignment for the plaintiffs is scheduled for January 6th.


Philly Gay Bashing Suspects Held On All Charges, Will Be Back In Court On January 6

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The three suspects accused in a heinous attack on a gay couple in Philadelphia on September 11 will stand trial on charges of felony assault and conspiracy, among other charges, Philadelphia Magazine reports. As previously reported, the defendants are 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott, and 24-year-old Philip Williams. Today's preliminary hearing was to determine whether the prosecution had met the burden of proof required to charge and try the defendants. Judge Charles Hayden Found they had:

The defendants, who previously pleaded not guilty and remain out on bail, appeared in the courtroom with their families, with Knott’s mother crying throughout many points of the proceeding. State Representative Brian Sims was also in attendance in the courtroom, which was crowded but not full.

Two witnesses testified today for the prosecution. Geoff Nagle observed the attack from a third floor window and stated that he heard "cursing and yelling in male and female voices, including language such as 'fucking faggot.'" The other witness was one of the two victims, Zachary Hesse:

Hesse said that when the pair encountered the group at 16th and Chancellor, Harrigan asked, "Is that your fucking boyfriend?" "I said, 'Yeah, that is my fucking boyfriend," he testified. "'Do you have a problem with that?'" Then he testified that Harrigan said, "'So you're a dirty fucking faggot?' So I approached him and said, 'Maybe I am a dirty fucking faggot.' He pushed me, I pushed him."

Then Hesse says that he was surrounded by the group. "I was terrified," he testified. "It's scary to have people surround you, and your arms are being held."

Before closing the hearing Judge Hayden wished all of the defendants "good luck."

Formal arraignment for the plaintiffs is scheduled for January 6th.


Philly Gay Bashing Suspects Due In Court Today: VIDEO

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The trio of individuals accused in the September 11 assault on a gay couple in City Center, Philadelphia, are in court today for a preliminary hearing. The defendants, 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott, and 24-year-old Philip Williams, are accused of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and criminal conspiracy. All three have plead not guilty. 

From Philadelphia Magazine: 

Here’s what we can expect to happen: The case will be brought before a municipal court judge to determine if there was probable cause to arrest the suspects in September. Attorney for Kevin Harrigan, Josh Scarpello, tells me, “we won’t decide the truth of the matter in that first hearing. It is a probable-cause hearing to establish if the case should go to trial.”

If the case goes to trial — and if no plea bargain is reached — Scarpello suggests that there might not be a trial date until well into the new year. "The earliest would be February or March," he says. "If it's scheduled to be a jury trial, it could take even longer."

The AP also reports that the defendants contest the plaintiff's version of the assault: "Defense lawyers insist that both parties played a role in the encounter, and say the men's sexual orientation wasn't an issue." Despite these claims, reports have abounded that the fight was preceded by homophobic slurs hurled against the victims by the defendants. You’ll also recall the social media sleuthing done by activist Scott Wooledge who dug into accused attacker Kathryn Knott’s Twitter account and found a history of homophobic remarks. 

Social media played a large role in the case from the onset, with the individuals being identified by social media sleuths looking to hunt down the perpetrators of the heinous assault. 

The accused will not face hate crimes charges as Pennsylvania does not currently have hate crimes legislation on the books that covers sexual orientation. However, that may change if State Rep. Brian Sims and State Sen. Jim Ferlo have their way.

Watch a news report on the hearing, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Philly Gay Bashing Suspects Due In Court Today: VIDEO" »


Philly City Council Unanimously Approves LGBT Hate Crimes Bill

The Philadelphia City Council has unanimously approved a measure that would provide additional penalties for crimes motivated by hatred regarding sexual orientation, gender identity or disabilities, The Inquirer reports:

Reynolds-brownThe measure approved Thursday, expected to be signed into law by Mayor Nutter, calls for up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 for crimes committed against a person because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

A similar bill was introduced at the state level last month, but it has stalled. The state's current hate-crime law applies only to attacks based on gender, religion, or ethnicity - not sexual orientation.

Passage of the city measure was hailed by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, a co-sponsor of the bill.

"My heart hurts for all people who are targeted because of who they are," she said in a statement. "If you think it is appropriate to hurt someone with hate in your heart, there will be a price to pay."

December court date has been set for the three suspects charged in the September 11 attack on a gay couple in Center City, Philly that catalyzed these efforts to amend the state and local hate crimes laws. 


LGBT Hate Crimes Bill Advances in Philly As Statewide Bill Stalls in Harrisburg

Mixed news out of Pennsylvania this week as the city of Philadelphia moved forward with a bill adding LGBT protections to hate crimes laws while a similar, statewide bill stalled in committee at the capitol in Harrisburg. 

Philadelphia Gay News reports:

BrownThe Public Safety Committee of Philadelphia City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed Bill 140720, which adds a new chapter to the Philadelphia Code to provide for additional penalties for criminal conduct motivated by hatred regarding sexual orientation, gender identity and disabilities.

The bill, sponsored by Councilmembers Blondell Reynolds-Brown and Jim Kenney, was scheduled to receive a first reading before the full Council on Thursday. Then, the public will be given a week to submit comments before a second reading will occur and a final vote can be taken.

Given that the bill passed from the committee with a favorable recommendation, Reynolds-Brown said she was optimistic her colleagues will approve the legislation.

“I feel positive it will pass in every way — absolutely,” she said. “The state has run into a brick wall. Given the testimony we have heard today, and the very insightful questions that were raised, I am confident that it will move to the mayor’s desk and become law.”

In Harrisburg, meanwhile, legislators failed to bring Rep. Brendan Boyle's bill up for a last minute House vote this week. PGN reports only once scheduled session day remains (November 12) and it not been announced yet if lawmakers will even meet that day. 

A December court date has been set for the three suspects charged in the September 11 attack on a gay couple in Center City, Philly that catalyzed these efforts to amend the state and local hate crimes laws. 


Rosie O'Donnell Speaks with Twitter Sleuth Who Helped Identify Suspects in Philly Gay Bashing: VIDEO

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Twitter user @FanSince09, who played an instrumental role in identifying the suspects in the September 11 gay bashing in Center City, Philadelphia, appeared on The View to share why (and how) he decided to put his social media skills to work and help solve a crime. 

Said @FanSince09, who chose to keep his identity anonymous:

"I did maybe about 45 minutes of work, but with crowd sourcing, we got at least three people identified within two hours"

Find out how, AFTER THE JUMP...

Last Monday, a bill that would amend Pennsylvania's hate crimes statues to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity passed the House Judiciary Committee 19-4.

Continue reading "Rosie O'Donnell Speaks with Twitter Sleuth Who Helped Identify Suspects in Philly Gay Bashing: VIDEO " »


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