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Press Release

Five Charged in 2006 Cold-Case Kidnapping and Murder of Philadelphia Man

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that five Philadelphia men — Kevin Holloway, 45; Mark Scott, 48; Linton Mathis, 50; Atiba Wicker, 47; and Kenneth Tuck, 51 — were arrested and charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit kidnapping resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death, and aiding and abetting.

The indictment alleges that on the evening of August 26, 2006, Shamari Taylor, a 38-year-old Philadelphia native, and his then-21-year-old girlfriend, were kidnapped from West Philadelphia by several men who were impersonating police officers. Taylor’s girlfriend was released by her captors several hours later, but Taylor remained missing until August 21, 2018, when law enforcement recovered his remains in a shallow grave in North Philadelphia. The ensuing investigation revealed that in the summer of 2006, at least nine men conspired to rob Taylor of cocaine and drug proceeds, and, in doing so, some of them disguised themselves as police officers while using fake badges, police lights, and firearms.

Law enforcement established that, as part of the conspiracy, Taylor and his girlfriend were abducted and transported to a warehouse in North Philadelphia where Taylor was interrogated and tortured, in an effort to ascertain where he stored additional cocaine and money. Taylor was then suffocated to death and his body was discarded in Fairmount Park. Several days later, four of the kidnappers moved Taylor’s body, burying him in a vacant lot in North Philadelphia that has since become the parking lot of a charter high school. On the day after the abduction, Taylor’s family home in West Philadelphia was ransacked by two armed men who shot Taylor’s mother and sister in their heads; both women survived.

In September 2006, Kenneth Tuck was arrested and charged locally in Philadelphia County in connection with the kidnapping. In 2008, after two trials, Tuck was acquitted of all charges in Philadelphia County. During that period, no one else was charged in connection with the kidnapping or death of Taylor.

The investigation revealed that Tuck was recruited to join the conspiracy plot to kidnap and rob Taylor while posing as a police officer, and that Kevin Holloway and his drug-dealing associates, Mark Scott and Linton Mathis, participated in the kidnapping and murdered Taylor in the warehouse after torturing him. The investigation further revealed that Taylor’s friend, Atiba Wicker, and another acquaintance helped plan the crime, in part, by luring Taylor to the abduction site on August 26, 2006. Finally, the investigation revealed that Tuck’s family member bribed a witness who testified at Tuck’s state trial in 2007, and that witness along with other witnesses provided false testimony supporting Tuck’s alibi for the evening Taylor was abducted.

“Anyone who commits a heinous crime and is still walking free years later might just assume they’ve gotten away with it,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Well, they should think again. We and our law enforcement partners will doggedly pursue justice for victims of violence and accountability for the perpetrators — no matter how long it may take.”

"Although the criminal acts alleged here today occurred nearly 18 years ago, the work of our office has not ceased," said Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Philadelphia. "The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to pursue justice for victims of violent crime in our community." 

“Today's charges are the culmination of years of relentless pursuit of justice for Shamari Taylor and his loved ones,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel. “The nature of this crime, with its elaborate planning, impersonation of law enforcement, and brutal execution, underscores the commitment of law enforcement to bring closure to cold cases and hold those responsible fully accountable. Our communities deserve nothing less. I commend the collaborative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, as well as the unwavering dedication of the Philadelphia Police Department, in bringing these alleged perpetrators to justice. This case exemplifies the power of cooperation among law enforcement agencies at all levels to solve complex crimes and deliver justice for the victims and their families. We will not rest until justice is served.”

“These arrests result in the charges brought against the defendants for the death and kidnapping of Shamari Taylor,” stated Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Ortiz of the DEA New Jersey Field Division. “The DEA and our law enforcement partners remain committed to making sure those responsible for these types of violent crimes face the consequences for their actions and are brought to justice.”

"We will continue to work closely and build on our strong relationships with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to maintain public safety and focus our efforts on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals who are engaging in criminal activity," said Dr. Laurel R. Harry, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. "I want to thank our state parole agents who worked on this case for so long; their determination and long hours hasn’t gone unnoticed."  

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum possible sentence of mandatory life imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Justin Ashenfelter and Jason Grenell.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated May 2, 2024

Violent Crime