McDaniel, described during the nonjury trial as an "enforcer" for his former employer, Straight Up Towing, was soft-spoken in facing his fate.
"I want to apologize to his mother, his family. I really didn't mean to hurt her son - point blank, period," he said, turning to face the victim's sobbing relatives. "I know it don't mean nothing, but I am sorry."
He testified Wednesday morning that he was so drunk that he didn't know what he was doing and did not realize he had run over Santiago, 30.
Defense attorney Andrea Konow argued that because McDaniel was impaired, he did not act with malice and lacked the intent to murder and that, therefore, he should be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Assistant District Attorney James Berardinelli said a surveillance video of the early-morning confrontation between McDaniel and Santiago, a rival driver for Siani's Towing, clearly showed a brutal murder by tow truck.
The video, from the parking lot of O'Reilly's Pub at Frankford and Lehigh Avenues, shows McDaniel sideswipe Santiago, then drive over him three times - forward and backward.
Just before the slaying, the men had fought at 2:45 a.m. over towing territory. McDaniel wanted to get even because he had lost the fight, Berardinelli said.
"He got a split lip, and because he couldn't beat him with his fists," the prosecutor said in his closing argument, "he got in his truck and mashed him like a bug."
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