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Judge Shoots Estranged Husband, is Place on Paid Leave

— June 5, 2019

A judge’s estranged husband is asked to move some furniture, according to family member, and is shot while at her residence.

Magisterial District Judge Sonya McKnight of Dauphin County, a Pennsylvania judge, was placed on paid leave while an investigation into whether she was justified in shooting and wounding her estranged husband ensues.  The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office is investigating the shooting that took place at her residence.

Investigators said McKnight and her estranged husband, Enoch McKnight, gave very different details in their stories regarding what happened that night when they were questioned separately.  Police interviewed both Sonya and Enoch McKnight after then man had recovered enough from surgery to be able to speak with detectives.

Sonya McKnight had received a protection from abuse order from her husband back in October of last year, but a change in effect at the time of the shooting allowed for the two to engage in peaceful contact.   Sonya McKnight obtained the order based on allegations that her husband had “tried to pull her from the car when she was driving, causing her to crash into a fire hydrant,” according to court records.  She told police she was going to the store and Enoch tried to pull her from the car.  She crashed and reported injuries to her hands and arms.

Judge Shoots Estranged Husband, is Place on Paid Leave
Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash

Enoch McKnight pleaded guilty to simple assault and was subsequently sentenced to time served of fifteen days in jail, then released.  The judge subsequently reported her ex for violating the order just a month later, in November, saying he had called her 23 times.  Then, in December 3rd, the request was modified, allowing for peaceful contact.

District Attorney Fran Chardo had been gathering police reports and evidence from the shooting to determine whether the use of force was justified or whether criminal charges should be filed.  Because Sonya McKnight presides over cases presented by Harrisburg police officers and Dauphin County prosecutors, Chardo said he believed he should refer the case to an outside agency for a decision.

Enoch was allegedly at the home to help the judge move some furniture, according to statements taken by this his relatives.  His sister, Olga Foxworth, said Enoch told her he had “successfully moved one chair to a neighbor’s house, then was carrying another chair when he was shot in the hand and groin and accused of being a cheater.”

Chardo confirmed Enoch was shot in the inner thigh.  When Enoch was released from the hospital, he had a GPS monitor and restrictions against contacting Sonya.  She asked that he leave her alone.

The couple were married in 2014 but had been living apart approximately a year, according to statements.  She filed divorce in 2016, but the divorce was not finalized.  In March of this year, Sonya had apparently drove to Enoch’s new home in Newville, Pa., to “collect life insurance money.”  She could not find him, so she left, but later reported that he made threatening phone calls to her about not coming to his home.  Enoch was arrested again for violating the terms of the protection order.

On April 3, the order was adjusted back to its original state, prohibiting all contact by Enoch.  However, just two weeks later, it was amended to include peaceful contact.  One thing’s for sure, this couple clearly has unfinished business.


Judge is on leave pending investigation into shooting of estranged husband

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