After being found guilty of simple assault, conspiracy and reckless endangerment for beating two innocent gay men, Kathryn Knott and her attorneys are tying just about anything to save the 25-year-old Jack Daniel’s aficionado from going to jail. Now, they’re hoping one of the trial’s jurors will help them.
Ari Duenas was Juror No. 4 in Knott’s trial. He’s a public school physical education teacher and army vet who loves soccer, mixed martial arts, and Reddit.
“I’m a Redditer, so I’m always on there anyway,” Duenas told the press shortly after court adjourned on Friday. “There were a lot of comments on there about the trial, some of them were kind of crazy.”
Duenas’ Reddit username is nedthedragonslayer. He has has left more than 8,000 comments on the social media site. Shortly after the trial, he created a thread titled “I was juror #4 on the Kathryn Knott trial, AMA!” in which he talked openly about what went on inside the courtroom.
In the thread, which has since been deleted, Duenas claimed that many of the jurors got very emotional during deliberations and often yelled at one another. He also claimed they didn’t convict Knott of the most serious charge, aggravated assault, because they felt bad for her. According to Duenas, one juror said: “I don’t care if she did it, I don’t feel right sending her to jail.”
Now, Knott’s legal team is trying to use Duenas’ comments to the media and his Reddit thread to convince the judge to declare a mistrial. They’re arguing that the 33-year-old juror may have violated the court’s instructions to stay away from media reports until after an official verdict was reached.
Lead attorney, Louis Busico, admitted it would be a “tough row to hoe” to win a mistrial appeal, but he says his team is still looking into it, as well as other possible tactics.
According to Duenas, someone from Busico’s team messaged him on Facebook to see if he’d cooperate with them, but he found the message “creepy” and said he “wasn’t comfortable” with it. He also denies looking at any media reports during the trial.
“I wanted to go into it fresh,” he said. “If I read an article online, or something, then I got something in my head that I couldn’t get out, that wouldn’t be fair. I’d be wasting taxpayer money.”
Knott is scheduled to be sentenced on February 8.