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Suspended attorney Sonya rebukes attempted murder allegations against client

Sonya rebukes attempted murder allegations against client

Suspended magistrate judge Sonya McKnight of Pennsylvania is facing severe legal challenges following allegations that she shot her estranged boyfriend, Michael McCoy, in the head as he slept.

The charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault have led to McKnight’s arrest and her current detention in Dauphin County Prison, unable to post the $300,000 bail set by the court.

While these charges are grave and could result in significant consequences, McKnight, through her attorney Cory Leshner, maintains her innocence, asserting that she did not shoot McCoy.

“Judge McKnight is innocent of the alleged charges. She did not shoot Mr. McCoy,” attorney Cory Leshner said in a statement Monday. Leshner said his client “looks forward to the whole story being told” and “intends to vigorously defend herself in this matter.”

“She believes in the criminal justice system and once all of the facts in this matter are brought to light, she is confident that she will be cleared of any wrongdoing,” Lesher said, asking the public to “keep an open mind and reserve judgment in this case until all of the facts are presented.”

The legal saga has its roots in a tumultuous relationship between McKnight and McCoy, characterized by McCoy’s repeated attempts to end their one-year involvement.

The situation reached a breaking point on February 10 when McCoy, after informing McKnight of his intention to enlist her mother’s help to move her out, went to bed and subsequently awoke to severe head pain and impaired vision. McCoy alleges that McKnight shot him while he slept.

The arrest affidavit reveals that police discovered gunshot residue on McKnight’s hands approximately an hour after the incident. McKnight’s account to the 911 operator was reportedly vague, stating that she was sleeping and heard McCoy screaming.

These circumstances have led to McKnight being charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for February 26.

Beyond the immediate charges related to the shooting, McKnight is grappling with broader legal issues. In mid-November, she was suspended without pay by the Court of Judicial Discipline due to misconduct allegations.

The Judicial Conduct Board has accused her of violating judicial probation stemming from a 2020 traffic stop involving her son, although she was acquitted of criminal charges related to that incident.

Additional misconduct charges include providing excessive vacation time to court staff, instructing an aide to ignore a civil complaint against her, and using a Facebook profile to promote sales.

The layered legal challenges faced by McKnight underscore the complexities of her situation, involving both the criminal charges related to the alleged shooting and the broader allegations of judicial misconduct. As McKnight’s defense unfolds, it aims to provide a comprehensive view of the circumstances surrounding the shooting incident and address the misconduct charges brought against her.

While the legal process proceeds, McKnight’s attorney, Cory Leshner, remains steadfast in asserting her innocence. Leshner emphasizes McKnight’s confidence in the criminal justice system, expressing a belief that, as the facts emerge, she will be cleared of any wrongdoing.


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Written by Anthony Peters