2 Jailed For Life For Killing In Front Of Cops

Posted: February 26, 1990

In his first kill try, Michael White only wounded his target.

He got a second chance while free on bail in the May 1988 shooting.

Finally, on New Year's Eve 1988, he succeeded in killing William Rose, 21, of Moore Street near 18th.

He also succeeded in getting caught.

White, 23, ignored three parked police cars at 13th and Locust streets, flushed Rose out of a nightclub and ordered his pal, Charles Sample, 21, to kill Rose, said Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGettigan.

Sample pulled a gun and shot Rose to death, firing six times. The police who were near their parked cars arrested them. Sample was shot and wounded while fleeing Officer Kevin Bethel.

Last week, White, of Wharton Street near 26th, and Sample, of Sears Street near 22nd, were sentenced to life in prison for the slaying. Common Pleas Senior Judge Juanita Kidd Stout imposed the sentences after a jury reported it was deadlocked on a prosecution plea for the death penalty.

White's attorney, Leon Martelli, and Sample's lawyer, Vincent J. Ziccardi, had asked for leniency for their clients, citing their ages and lack of ''significant" criminal records.


A West Philadelphia man has been convicted of tying up a pregnant woman inside his apartment and raping her. The 19-year-old victim leaped from a second-floor window with a rope around her neck and ankle.

A Common Pleas jury found Robert Newton, 40, guilty of rape, aggravated assault and several other charges last week in the June 23, 1988, attack. Common Pleas Judge Angelo A. Guarino deferred sentencing pending motions for a new trial.

Assistant District Attorney Gail Fairman said Newton, of Windsor Street near 54th, tied the woman's hands and legs, then raped her.


Police say Derrick "Q" Steplight was a rising star in the Junior Black Mafia, heading up a drug operation in West Philadelphia for the violent gang.

Last week, Steplight, 23, of Viola Street near 51st, faded out of the picture by pleading guilty to a series of crimes in exchange for a 10- to 20- year prison term.

"The people of West Philadelphia will be much better off for the next 10 years because Derrick Steplight will not be out there preying on them," said Assistant District Attorney James Lyons.

The prosecutor told Common Pleas Judge Kendall H. Shoyer that Steplight was arrested on April 7, 1987, after police seized about $12,000 worth of cocaine in his room at a City Avenue motel.

On Jan. 20, 1989, Steplight shot and wounded Dennis Thompson, 26, after the victim had just gotten on a SEPTA bus at 52nd Street and Girard Avenue, Lyons said. The prosecutor said Steplight had mistakenly believed Thompson had kicked a car Steplight had driven.

"Mr. Thompson lost a kidney as a result of the shooting," said Lyons. ''He had nothing to do with the car incident."

On Sept. 11, 1989, Steplight fired "a machine gun" into the window of an apartment on Woodland Avenue near 55th Street in a drug-related incident, said Lyons. Two men ducked out of the way and were not hurt.

Steplight also pleaded guilty to two weapons possession charges.

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