Judge Tries to Kill Ex-Boyfriend While He Sleeps

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – A suspended judge in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault after allegedly shooting her ex-boyfriend while he slept in his Harrisburg home. According to the press release from the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, the victim, Michael McCoy, was trying to end his one-year relationship with Magisterial District Judge Sonya M. McKnight, 57, when the incident occurred on the morning of Saturday, February 10.

McCoy, 54, had repeatedly asked McKnight to move out of his home following their breakup, but she refused to leave, as per an arrest affidavit obtained by the Associated Press, NBC News, and CBS News. Despite taking away her key, McCoy found McKnight in her pajamas on his couch when he returned home on Friday, February 9. It was discovered that she had used a spare key to enter the residence while he was at work.

After informing McKnight that he planned to seek assistance from her mother in removing her from the house, McCoy went to a nearby bar. Upon his return, he went to sleep around 11 p.m. only to wake up a few hours later in excruciating pain. The bullet had entered the right side of McCoy’s face, passing through his head and exiting the left side, leaving him blind in one eye.

During the investigation, police found that McKnight’s interview with detectives had been deceptive, and the gun used in the shooting was registered under her name. Additionally, gun residue was detected on her hands hours after the incident, according to NBC News. Despite McKnight calling 911 to report McCoy’s vision loss, she claimed to have no knowledge of what had happened.

McKnight, who was taken into custody on Thursday, February 15, is currently being held at the Dauphin County Prison with bail set at $300,000. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for February 26. In November 2020, McKnight was suspended without pay after allegedly violating judicial probation in a misconduct case involving her son. Although she was acquitted of criminal charges relating to that incident, she had previously been cleared in the shooting of her estranged husband in 2019, with prosecutors citing self-defense.

The Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office assumed jurisdiction over the investigation due to a conflict of interest in the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office, where McKnight is a Magisterial District Judge. The investigations at both the state and county level concluded that they could not prosecute the case. The arrest and charges were made following requests from the Dauphin County District Attorney to the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office.