Judge charged with attempted murder for shooting sleeping ex-boyfriend

HARRISBURG, PA – A Pennsylvania magistrate judge, currently under suspension, is facing charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault following an incident where she allegedly shot her estranged boyfriend in the head while he slept, according to local police.

Sonya M. McKnight, 57, a Magisterial District Judge, was found to have gunshot residue on her hands just an hour after the shooting of Michael McCoy, which took place at his Harrisburg residence early Saturday, Susquehanna Township Police disclosed in an arrest affidavit.

McKnight was held at Dauphin County Prison with a bail set at $300,000 on Friday. Court records did not list a lawyer for her. A previous legal representative of McKnight stated he no longer represented her and declined to comment. McKnight could not be reached for comment.

McCoy, 54, has lost sight in his right eye as a result of the shooting, authorities reported. Police records indicate that McCoy had been trying to end their one-year relationship and had asked McKnight to move out “numerous times”.

According to the police, McCoy had suffered a gunshot wound to his right temple that exited his left temple. McCoy maintained that he did not shoot himself, both at the scene and later at the hospital.

Police also revealed that doorbell footage from neighboring homes contradicted McKnight’s claim of not leaving the house the night of the shooting. The firearm used in the shooting was registered to McKnight, and both McCoy and McKnight confirmed that no one else was present at the time of the incident.

The case was handed over from the Dauphin County district attorney’s office to Cumberland County District Attorney Sean McCormack due to a conflict of interest.

McKnight, who has been an elected judge in Dauphin County since 2016, was suspended without pay in mid-November by the Court of Judicial Discipline, which handles misconduct allegations against judges. The Judicial Conduct Board has alleged that McKnight violated judicial probation from a previous misconduct case.