Pennsylvania

Center City Gay Bashing Suspects Not Due Back in Court Until December

A trio of Bucks County residents who police say assaulted a gay couple in Center City Philadelphia earlier this month won’t be back in court until December.

Lawyers for 24-year-old Philip Williams of Warminster, 24-year-old Kathryn Knott of Southampton and 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan of Warrington appeared in court Tuesday morning on behalf of their clients.

At the brief hearing, attorneys requested more time before a preliminary hearing on aggravated assault, conspiracy and other charges stemming from the Sept. 11 incident. The parties then agreed to a Dec. 16 hearing date, according to court records.

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Police accuse the two men and a suburban police chief's daughter with taking part in an assault that left one man with a wired jaw.

Despite the charges they face, the suspects -- through their attorneys -- insist the gay couple instigated the fight when one of them threw the first punch, and that gay bashing was not the motive

"With respect to my client, he was not the aggressor," said Fortunato Perri, an attorney for Williams. "[He] did not initiate anything and only became involved in the incident after one of the purported victims in the case punched one of the girls in the face."

But anti-gay slurs preceded the attack and old Tweets from Knott led others on social media to accuse her of homophobia.

The arrests came after the public used social media sites to help police identify the large group that crossed paths with the victims that night.

Pennsylvania's hate crimes law does not include protections for sexual orientation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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