Suspended Pennsylvania Judge Charged with Shooting Ex-Boyfriend After He Ended Relationship, Previously Shot Ex-Hubby for 'Cheating'

Sonya McKnight
Sonya McKnight Facebook/Twitter

A suspended magistrate judge in Pennsylvania shot her estranged boyfriend in the head as he slept last weekend, police said Thursday, in charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault against her.

Tests showed Magisterial District Judge Sonya M. McKnight, 57, had gunshot residue on her hands an hour after Michael McCoy was shot in the bed of his home in the Harrisburg area early Saturday, Susquehanna Township Police wrote in an arrest affidavit.

McKnight was in the Dauphin County Prison on Friday with bail set at $300,000. Authorities say the shooting has left McCoy blind in his right eye.

McCoy Tried 'Numerous Times' to Get McKnight to Move Out After He Ended Relationship

Police wrote that McCoy, 54, had tried "numerous times" to get McKnight to move out after he ended their one-year relationship. On Friday, Feb. 9, McCoy came home to find McKnight in pajamas on the couch. When he returned from a restaurant he told her he planned to get McKnight's mother's help to get her out of the home.

"Michael McCoy stated that it was like she finally understood that it was over," police said. He went to bed at about 11 p.m.

McCoy awoke to "massive head pain" and was unable to see, police said, and when he began to scream McKnight told him, "Mike what did you do to yourself?" He had suffered a gunshot wound to the right temple that exited his left temple, police said. McCoy told police at the scene and later at the hospital that he did not shoot himself.

McKnight Called 911, Said She was Sleeping at the Time of Shooting and Woke Up to McCoy Screaming

When McKnight called 911 shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday, she "could not explain what happened and stated that she was sleeping and heard him screaming," police said in the affidavit.

Investigators found doorbell videos from neighboring homes that contradicted McKnight's claim that she did not leave the home the night of the shooting. McCoy suspected she had checked on him at the tavern. Detectives wrote in the affidavit that the gun was registered to McKnight and both of them said no one else was in the home at the time of the shooting.

McKnight Shot Her Ex-Husband in 2019 Over 'Cheating' Allegations

Her arrest this week comes after she was previously cleared of charges after shooting her ex-husband Enoch McKnight in 2019. The couple married in 2014 but had filed for divorce two years later. While their divorce was still pending three years later, Enoch visited her home the morning of May 10 to help move furniture.

After moving a chair to a neighbor's house, he returned to grab another before being shot in the hand and groin, and was accused of being a "cheater," reports PennLive. Investigators ruled that the judge acted in self-defense, and it reportedly came after a string of domestic disputes between the pair.

McKnight was Suspended as Judge in November For Misconduct

McKnight, 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, which investigates and charges misconduct cases against Pennsylvania judges, claimed in a September filing that McKnight had violated judicial probation from a previous misconduct case centered on her actions regarding a 2020 traffic stop involving her son. She was acquitted of criminal charges in that matter.

Among the pending misconduct allegations, the Judicial Conduct Board alleges that she gave excess vacation time to members of her court staff; directed an aide to ignore a woman's civil complaint that claimed McKnight owed her for a $2,100 loan; and used a Facebook profile with her photo in judicial robes to promote sales of a consumer product.