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A Pennsylvania Man Broke Up with His Judge Girlfriend and Asked Her to Move Out. Now, She's Accused of Shooting Him While He Slept.

Pennsylvania Judge Accused of Shooting Boyfriend While He Slept
Source: Dauphin County Prison; Unsplash

Sonya McKnight's boyfriend ended things and asked her to move out. She then reportedly shot him while he slept, police said.

Feb. 20 2024, Published 2:02 p.m. ET

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A magistrate court judge in Pennsylvania has been arrested after authorities say she allegedly shot her boyfriend in the head while he was sleeping.

On Feb. 10, Sonya M. McKnight allegedly fired a gun at the victim in his home in Harrisburg, according to the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office.

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Officials said the bullet traveled behind the victim’s eyes and left him blind in one eye.

McKnight serves as a magisterial district judge in Dauphin County, where the incident took place, but prosecutors asked Cumberland County District Attorney Sean M. McCormack to handle the case.

According to court documents obtained by WHP, McKnight had been dating the man, later identified as 54-year-old Michael McCoy, for about a year.

McKnight had moved into McCoy’s home, but on Feb. 4, he reportedly told her he was ending the relationship. However, she reportedly refused to leave and he removed his key from her key ring.

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On Feb. 9, McCoy told police he went out to dinner and thought she was following him. Police said they obtained evidence, which confirmed his suspicions.

When McCoy returned home that night, he said he found McKnight sleeping on his couch. She asked to talk with him, but he reportedly said they could have a conversation in the morning, and he went to bed around an hour later.


McCoy told authorities that he woke up later with “massive head pain” and was unable to see. He said he started to scream and then allegedly heard McKnight say, “Mike, what did you do to yourself?”

McKnight kept asking him what he did, as he asked her to help him to the bathroom and to call an ambulance. She reportedly used his phone, after getting his passcode, and told dispatchers that her boyfriend couldn’t see and needed help.

She told dispatchers that she didn’t know what happened and she was awakened by his screaming.

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Once officers arrived at the scene, they found McCoy with a gunshot wound near his right eye. When they told him he’d been shot, he reportedly replied, “I did not shoot myself.”

According to court documents, McCoy had been shot from about a foot away and McKnight tested positive for gunshot residue on her hands after the incident. The gun allegedly used was registered to McKnight, the documents show.

The judge was arrested and charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault, officials said.

The Associated Press reported that the Court of Judicial Discipline suspended McKnight without pay last year over several allegations of misconduct.

In 2019, she was also involved in a shooting incident with her estranged husband, but prosecutors said it was self-defense and she was not charged in connection with the case.


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