Daughter of Police Chief Among Trio Charged in Gay Couple's Beating

Three have surrendered to police.

ByABC News
September 25, 2014, 7:22 AM

— -- The daughter of suburban Philadelphia police chief is among three people charged with attacking a gay couple two weeks ago, a case that prompted amateur sleuths to use social media to help identify the suspects.

The trio -- Kathryn Knott, 24, of Southampton, Pennsylvania, who is the daughter of Chalfont Borough Police Chief Karl Knott; Kevin Harrigan, 26, of Southampton; and Phillip Williams, 24, of Warminster, Pennsylvania, -- surrendered to police in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

The three held down the two men and beat them while making disparaging comments about their sexual orientation and stealing one victim's bag, police said. Both victims were hospitalized, one beaten so badly he had his jaw wired shut and required facial surgery. Police haven't released the names of the victims.

"They're still reliving it all," said a friend of the victims, Caryn Kunkle. "It's really -- it's tough."

After police released surveillance video, amateur sleuths from across the country shared photos and information as they tried identifying the suspects.

"This vicious attack shocked the entire country. An assault on people because of their sexual orientation has no place in Philadelphia," District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement.

The three are charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

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Attorneys for Knott and Williams denied that the victims' sexual orientation played a role in the incident.

"In no way, shape or form was this incident related to anyone's sexual orientation," Williams' attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., told the Associated Press on Wednesday. "This was a mutual confrontation that started because two individuals got into an argument out in the street."

"She would not hurt anybody, period, regardless of their orientation, their color, their background," said Knott's attorney, Louis Busico.

Busico also denied that Knott insulted them or threw any punches.

"I represent a young woman who's never been in trouble," he said. "She's from a wonderful family. She has a law enforcement background within her family. She played no role in this."

Pennsylvania's hate-crimes law does not cover crimes motivated by a person's sexual orientation, according to the AP.

Following her arrest, Knott's Twitter account has drawn her more attention, because she's claimed there to have taken advantage of her father's position in the past.

Knott's father was a lieutenant in Abington, Pennsylvania, at the time of the tweets, according to ABC News station WPVI. Abington Police Chief William Kelly said Knott was on a "legitimate ride along."

"There's no allegation against any member of this police department that goes un-researched," Kelly told WPVI. "Whether it's anonymous or how it comes in, we research it because we value the reputation of our police department."

ABC News' Rheana Murray contributed to this story.