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Fate of Kaboni Savage Co-Defendant Determined

U.S. Attorney’s Office June 13, 2013
  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania (215) 861-8200

PHILADELPHIA—The federal jury that voted in favor of death for drug kingpin Kaboni Savage today voted in favor of life for Savage co-defendant Steven Northington, 41. Savage was formally sentenced to death last week by U.S. District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick. He is the first defendant in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to receive the death penalty in federal court. He was convicted on May 13, 2013, of 12 counts of murder in aid of racketeering, one count of retaliating against a witness by murder, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, and one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise. Savage ordered the October 9, 2004 firebombing of the home of Eugene Coleman’s family. Coleman was a federal witness at the time. Six people were killed in the arson murder, including four children. The jury had found Northington guilty of the murders of Barry Parker in 2003 and of Tybius Flowers in 2004, in addition to racketeering (RICO) conspiracy. Northington will be formally sentenced on June 19, 2013.

Co-defendants Kidada Savage, Kaboni Savage’s sister, and Robert Merritt face mandatory life sentences. They were convicted at trial of the RICO conspiracy and Kidada Savage was also convicted of the Coleman family murders.

Today’s penalty verdict was announced by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.

“Achieving justice sometimes requires us to ask the citizens on a jury to make the most difficult sentencing decision imaginable,” said Memeger. “In this case, after convicting the defendants of crimes involving murder, the jurors chose death for Kaboni Savage and life for Stephen Northington. The defendants’ horrific conduct struck at the very heart of our criminal justice system which depends on witnesses testifying without fearing for their lives or the lives of their family members. We appreciate the time and effort that the jury committed to reaching a fair verdict as to each defendant. While the verdicts cannot restore the loss of life taken by members of the Kaboni Savage drug organization, we hope that the jury verdicts bring some sense of closure to the victims’ families and friends. I want to thank the phenomenal investigative and trial team that worked so hard over many years to bring the defendants to justice for their despicable crimes.”

“For more than a decade, Kaboni Savage and members of his organization used murder and violence to intimidate and retaliate against anyone who threatened their drug trade,and along the way mercilessly killed a cooperating witness’s family members, including innocent children,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. “We are hopeful that the jury’s verdict brings some measure of justice to the victims of Savage’s heinous crimes.”

“Kaboni Savage and his crew murdered men, women, and children—for money, power, and, ultimately, just for revenge,” said Edward J. Hanko, FBI Special Agent in Charge. “They thought no more of taking lives than of taking a phone call. After more than a decade of brutality, Northington’s life sentence and Savage’s death sentences are justly deserved.”

Savage’s drug enterprise operated primarily in the North Philadelphia area from at least late 1997 to 2010. After Savage was indicted on drug charges in 2004, he ordered the murders of the family of government witness Eugene Coleman. Lamont Lewis, who has pleaded guilty, firebombed the Coleman family home on Savage’s orders which Kidada Savage relayed to Lewis.

In addition to the murders of the six people inside the Coleman home, Savage was convicted of:

  • the March 19, 1998, murder of Kenneth Lassiter, age 44, of Lansdale, Pennsylvania, near the corner of 8th and Butler Streets in Philadelphia;
  • the September 6, 2000 murder of Mansur “Shafiq”Abdullah, age 22, of Philadelphia. Abdullah was shot and his burned body was later recovered in the 4200 block of North Park Avenue, in Philadelphia;
  • the September 13, 2001 murder of Carlton “Mohammed” Brown, age 27, of Philadelphia;
  • the February 26, 2003 murder of Barry Parker, age 32, of Philadelphia, in the 3900 block of North Franklin Street, in Philadelphia;
  • the March 14, 2003 murder of Tyrone Toliver, age 26, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, in the 3500 block of North Palmetto Street in Philadelphia; and
  • the March 1, 2004 murder of Tybius Flowers, age 32, in the 3700 block of N. 8th Street in Philadelphia.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and the Maple Shade, New Jersey Police Department. The United States Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshals Service, and HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) also assisted in the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys David E. Troyer and John M. Gallagher and Trial Attorney Steve Mellin of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Unit at the U.S. Department of Justice.

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