PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two of the three suburban Philadelphia defendants being charged in the beating of a gay couple during a late-night encounter on a city street have turned themselves in to police.
Philip Williams and Katherine Knott , both 24, turned themselves in early Wednesday, defense attorneys said. Prosecutors said they face criminal conspiracy, aggravated and simple assault, and reckless endangerment charges, as does 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan .
The victims told police that the group hurled gay slurs and beat them when the two parties passed on the street on Sept. 11 . One man suffered serious facial injuries, including an orbital fracture, and had his jaw wired.
Williams’ attorney Fortunato Perri Jr . told reporters Wednesday that the case was not related to anyone’s sexual orientation, but was instead a “mutual confrontation” in which his client “was not the aggressor.”
Knott’s attorney Louis Busico has also denied that the dispute was motivated by anti-gay bias and said his client neither threw any punches nor hurled any insults.
“My client played no role in this,” Busico told reporters Wednesday.
The case gained attention when police posted a video of the well-dressed suspects and online sleuths used social media sites to help identify them.
District Attorney Seth Williams said Tuesday in announcing the charges that the case “shocked the entire country.”
“An assault on people because of their sexual orientation has no place in Philadelphia ,” he said in a statement.
Pennsylvania’s hate-crimes law does not cover crimes motivated by a person’s sexual orientation.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey , along with openly gay state Rep. Brian Sims of Philadelphia and others, have said the case illustrates the need for a change in the law.