The three violent homophobic assailants charged with beating a gay couple unconscious in an unprovoked gay bashing in Philadelphia on September 11th –Kevin Harrigan, Kathryn Knott, and Philip Williams — appeared Tuesday before Judge Charles Hayden for a preliminary hearing in order to determine if there was enough evidence to proceed to trial on charges of felony assault and conspiracy, among other counts.
Judge Hayden confirmed that yes, the evidence is compelling enough to go to trial. Formal arraignment in Common Pleas Court is scheduled for January 6th.
During an intense day of witness examination, Geoff Nagle testified what he’d seen from his nearby third floor window — initially “a woman in the group pointing her finger at someone and that the person she was pointing her finger at then pushed her hand away.”
Then things “took a drastic turn” when he saw “one of the men in the group put a man in a headlock and that there were punches thrown. He said that he heard cursing and yelling in male and female voices, including language such as “fucking faggot.”
Zachary Hesse, one of two victims in the case, was next to take the stand. He 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.'”
Hesse identified “Harrigan as the man who first hit him in the head, Knott as the woman who “smacked or hit” him in the head and called him a “fucking faggot,” and Williams as the man who then hit Hesse again.”
Hesse’s boyfriend took the worst of the blows, resulting in two broken cheek bones requiring his jaw to be wired shut for nearly two months.
The trio’s lawyers asked the judge to “dismiss the most serious charges and remand the case back to Municipal Court, but Hayden disagreed, saying that the prosecution had met its burden for the preliminary hearing. He then wished all three of the defendants ‘good luck.'”