Pennsylvania

Gang member claims he killed man who sexually assaulted him

A gang member testified Monday that he was ending a four-day drug binge when his friend sexually assaulted him, leading the defendant to tie up the man, kill him and then record videos in which he gloated over the body.

Jeffrey Knoble, 27, took the stand in his own defense in his Northampton County trial in the March 2015 death of Andrew "Beep" White. The defendant and the prosecutor clashed repeatedly during the testimony, with Knoble at one point giving the prosecutor an obscene gesture.

Knoble said he had been up for four days doing meth and passed out, then awoke to find the 32-year-old White naked, touching him and kissing his neck.

"I just snapped. I just snapped out," Knoble said. "I pushed him off. It felt like it wasn't me. It felt like, what is it called? Like autopilot and I just put the pillow over his head and I just shot him in his head."

Prosecution witnesses have characterized Knoble as a liar and a manipulator and White as a good Samaritan.

Prosecutors said investigators found no evidence of a sexual assault and no drug paraphernalia in the motel room.

Prosecutors said the defendant took a cellphone video of the bloody victim and said, "I do what I want." Another video shows him touching the victim's head while referencing the bullet hole that killed him, investigators said.

Knoble, 27, of Riegelsville, said he made the recordings to intimidate people who had been threatening him.

Defense attorney Gavin Holihan said Knoble reacted "horribly" out of a "combination of drugs, alcohol and fear of being labeled a homosexual," which he said for a gang member would be perceived as a sign of weakness.

"If he's identified as being a homosexual in any way shape or form, his life will be over," at least as far as Knoble perceived, said Holihan.

Prosecutors allege that Knoble had called White for help because he knew police were looking for him after he stole his then-girlfriend's rental car, which was found abandoned with four bullet holes in the side.

After the slaying, prosecutors allege that he sought new clothes from his mother, told her he had killed someone, showed her the video and threatened to kill police, after which she called authorities. Police arrested Knoble at her home.