A federal jury in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that voted in favor of death for a North Philadelphia drug kingpin, Kaboni Savage, today voted in favor of life for a co-defendant, Steven Northington. Savage was sentenced to death last week by U.S. District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division made the announcement after the jury’s decisions.
On May 31, 2013, a jury voted in favor of death for Savage, 38, who is the first defendant in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to receive the death penalty in federal court. Savage 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 Oct. 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. Savage was sentenced to death on June 3, 2013.
Today, the same jury voted in favor of life for Northington, 41, who was convicted 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 by U.S. District Judge Surrick on June 19, 2013.
“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.”
“Achieving justice sometimes requires us to ask the citizens on a jury to make the most difficult sentencing decision imaginable,” said U.S. Attorney 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.”
“Kaboni Savage and his crew murdered men, women, and children – for money, power, and, ultimately, just for revenge,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Hanko. “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 sister and co-defendant, Kidada Savage, was also found guilty of the RICO conspiracy and the Coleman family murders. Co-defendant Robert Merritt was found guilty of the RICO conspiracy. They each face a mandatory life sentence at sentencing.
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 six people inside the Coleman home, Savage was convicted of the following murders:
• Kenneth Lassiter, 44, of Lansdale, Pa., on March 19, 1998, near the corner of 8th and Butler Streets in Philadelphia;
• Mansur “Shafiq” Abdullah, 22, of 11th Street, Philadelphia, on Sept. 6, 2000. Abdullah was shot and his burned body was later recovered in the 4200 block of North Park Avenue in Philadelphia;
• Carlton “Mohammed” Brown, 27, of Darien Street, Philadelphia, on Sept. 13, 2001;
• Barry Parker, 32, of Susquehanna Avenue, Philadelphia, on February 26, 2003, in the 3900 block of North Franklin Street in Philadelphia;
• Tyrone Toliver, 26, of Cherry Hill, N.J., on March 14, 2003, in the 3500 block of North Palmetto Street in Philadelphia; and
• Tybius Flowers, 32, of K Street, Philadelphia, on March 1, 2004, in the 3700 block of N. 8th Street in Philadelphia.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, 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 the Philadelphia/Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force also assisted in the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Steven Mellin of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Unit at the U.S. Department of Justice and Assistant United States Attorneys David E. Troyer and John M. Gallagher.