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Social media’s role in identifying the suspects from the Center City gay attack has been greatly exaggerated.

That’s according to an exchange Monday morning, as testimony resumed in the trial of Bucks County woman Kathryn Knott. She’s the only person charged in the case to not plead guilty. Her co-defendants — Philip R. Williams, 25, and Kevin J. Harrigan, 27 — agreed in October to “a sweetheart” plea deal that kept them both out of prison.

Assistant District Attorney Mike Barry was interviewing Detective Ralph Domenic, the main investigator on the case.

After Knott’s defense attorney Louis Busico implied two eyewitnesses came forward only after a local business offered up a reward, Barry asked Domenic if any witness in the case had ever asked for that reward.

When Domenic responded “no,” Barry followed up with “Did anyone seek a reward to your knowledge?”

Domenic: “The Twitter guy, FanSince09. He was claiming credit for solving it.”

Barry: “Did he solve it?”

Domenic: “He did not. He put out a restaurant photo that included about a dozen people who weren’t involved.”

Private Twitter conversation between @FanSince09 and police on the night of the attack.
Private Twitter conversation between @FanSince09 and police on the night of the attack.

@FanSince09 told the “Today” show last year he circulated a photo originally posted by someone named Greg Bennett and then used Facebook Graph Search to try to identify people by their check-ins at the restaurant, Facebook profile pictures or tags from the photo.

@FanSince09 told Billy Penn in an interview last fall he never got any indication from police or the Citizen’s Crime Commission that a $10,000 reward being offered by local restaurants had actually been posted.

“If people are going to offer rewards, make sure you know what the procedures are,” he said. “I don’t think they were just doing it for PR, I think they meant well, but from what I’m seeing, it wasn’t handled the way rewards are handled.”

Though he prefers to remain anonymous, @FanSince09 was featured on national morning news shows, including “The View” and “The Today Show,” about solving crimes using social media

Domenic testified Friday that the group of friends involved in the assault were identified shortly after a surveillance video was released through the media and a number of tips came into Central Detectives.

Following Domenic’s testimony and the introduction of four anti-gay tweets into evidence, the prosecution rested. The defense is set to present its case.

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.