Youth-leader killer gets 2 life terms

Posted: August 31, 2011

AFTER WATCHING Kareem Savage receive a lifetime of punishment for murdering her son, two other men and wounding four others, Sandra Mack sent Savage a poignant message.

"There are always consequences for whatever you do," Mack said softly yesterday.

Savage, 23, fatally shot beloved youth mentor Miles Mack, 42, as Mack was handing out trophies on a Mantua basketball court. Common Pleas Judge Steven Geroff sentenced Savage yesterday to two consecutive life sentences without parole plus 60 to 120 years.

Defense attorney W. Fred Harrison Jr. told the judge that Savage had met his father at age 16 and that his mother enabled him to use and sell drugs.

"I'm not making any excuses for Mr. Savage, I just want you to know who stands before you," Harrison told the judge.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Zarallo, in arguing for consecutive life sentences, noted that Savage murdered Mack, the founder of X-Tra Miles Developmental Basketball League, while Mack was trying to help troubled young men much like the defendant.

Savage, a heavyset and unshaven man in sagging jeans, declined to speak during the hearing.

Following a nonjury trial in June, Geroff convicted Savage of the first-degree murders of Mack and Darren Hankins, 19, and of wounding four other men, all of whom were shot Sept. 11, 2008 at the McAlpin Playground, at 36th and Aspen Streets.

During a separate June trial, Geroff convicted Savage of the third-degree murder of Cortez Ennis, 46, which occurred in Brewerytown in July 2008.

Savage, of 29th Street near Thompson, was one of two hooded hit men who terrorized the basketball tournament, according to trial testimony. Mack, the father of two sons, jumped on top of a player to protect him from the bullets and was struck in the back.

The city has since renamed the playground in Mack's honor.

When Savage was arrested two months after the murders, he told homicide detectives that a man named John Cornish, the alleged leader of the Myrtlewood Street drug gang, had ordered him and Malik Johnson, then 15, to shoot Hankins. Trial testimony indicated that Mack and the four wounded victims were caught in the cross-fire.

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