The District Attorney’s Office confirmed this week that plea agreements have been offered to each of the three suspects accused of physically and verbally attacking a gay couple in Center City this past fall.
“We have made an offer,” DA spokesperson Cameron Kline told PGN this week.
Kline said plea deals have been offered to Kathryn Knott, Kevin Harrigan and Philip Williams but declined to give specifics on what the agreements entail. He also declined to say if the deals were all the same.
“That we have to keep confidential,” he said.
The three face aggravated assault, simple assault and conspiracy charges in connection with the Sept. 11 beating of Zachary Hess and Andrew Haught. The couple was walking near 16th and Chancellor streets when the three suspects allegedly taunted them about their sexual orientation and then physically assaulted them.
Attorneys for the trio were in court last Thursday for a scheduled pre-trial bring back. The defendants were not present.
Another bring back was scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 13 in Room 905 of the Criminal Justice Center, 1301 Filbert St.
The suspects could decide to take the agreements at any time, Kline said.
If they reject the agreements, the case could head to trial. Kline declined to say if the DA’s Office will negotiate with the suspects’ attorneys if they reject the initial deals offered.
“Right now the case is awaiting a trial date. We’re preparing for that trial,” he said. “As part of that process, which is in the early stages, we would work with the defense attorneys to set the right dates, make sure everyone shares evidence and information and move forward until the judge says, ‘OK here’s the date.’ We’re still in prep phase.”
Kline said he anticipates a fall trial if the suspects reject the plea deals.
Pennsylvania lacks an LGBT-inclusive hate-crimes law but the incident prompted Philadelphia City Council to enact such a measure. Knott, Harrigan and Williams couldn’t be charged under the law because it was adopted after the incident took place.