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Suspended Pennsylvania judge didn’t shoot estranged boyfriend, says defense attorney

Magisterial District Judge Sonya McKnight, 57, maintains her innocence against accusations of attempted murder and aggravated assault. She was arrested last week in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, after her estranged boyfriend, Michael McCoy, was shot in the head while sleeping at his Harrisburg-area home on February 10th.

McKnight’s lawyer, Cory Leshner, vehemently denies the charges. In a statement released Monday, Leshner asserted, “Judge McKnight is blameless in this situation. She did not shoot Mr. McCoy.” He emphasized McKnight’s faith in the justice system and her intention to mount a strong defense. “She trusts the process,” Leshner declared, “and is confident that once all the evidence is revealed, she will be exonerated.” Leshner urged the public to “remain impartial and withhold judgment until all the facts come to light.”

According to court documents, McKnight was unable to post the $300,000 bail and is currently incarcerated in Dauphin County Prison. Police reports allege that 54-year-old McCoy had repeatedly requested McKnight to leave his residence after their one-year relationship ended. Authorities claim that on February 9th, McCoy arrived home to find McKnight unexpectedly there. Before retiring for the night around 11 pm, McCoy reportedly informed McKnight of his plan to enlist his mother’s help in removing her from the property. McCoy later awoke with excruciating head pain and impaired vision. He recounted to police that upon screaming in distress, McKnight responded with, “Mike, what did you do to yourself?” Both at the scene and later at the hospital, McCoy maintained the gunshot wound to his right temple was not self-inflicted.

Police described McKnight’s behavior during the 911 call made shortly before 1 am on Saturday as confused and evasive. The affidavit states, “She was unable to provide an explanation for the incident and claimed to have been asleep when she heard him screaming.” A preliminary hearing for the case is scheduled for February 26th.

It’s important to note that this is not McKnight’s first brush with controversy. Elected as a Dauphin County judge in 2016, she was suspended without pay in mid-November by the Court of Judicial Discipline, which investigates misconduct allegations against judges. The Judicial Conduct Board, responsible for investigating and filing misconduct charges against Pennsylvania judges, alleged in September that McKnight had violated judicial probation stemming from a prior misconduct case involving her actions during a 2020 traffic stop concerning her son. She was previously cleared of criminal charges in that incident.

Separate misconduct allegations against McKnight include granting excessive vacation time to court staff, instructing an aide to disregard a civil complaint against her for a claimed $2,100 loan, and using a social media profile picture in judicial robes to promote a consumer product []. Additionally, reported that McKnight faced no charges for shooting her estranged husband in 2019 after inviting him to her home to assist with furniture moving. Prosecutors reportedly ruled it self-defense.

Kyle James Lee

Majority Owner of The AEGIS Alliance. I studied in college for Media Arts, Game Development. Talents include Writer/Article Writer, Graphic Design, Photoshop, Web Design and Development, Video Production, Social Media, and eCommerce.

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