Judge makes it official: Death for Kaboni Savage

Kaboni Savage/ Family Photo
Kaboni Savage/ Family Photo
Posted: June 05, 2013

A Philadelphia judge on Monday imposed 13 death sentences on Kaboni Savage, sending the former drug kingpin off to await an execution that almost certainly is years away, if it happens at all.

Flanked by his lawyers and two federal marshals, Savage declined a final opportunity from U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick to say anything about his trial, sentence, or the murderous history that made him one of the city's most notorious criminals.

Within two weeks, his court-appointed attorneys, Christian Hoey and William Purpura, are expected to take the first formal steps to overturn his sentence or conviction.

The 10-minute hearing Monday was a formality after a jury Friday unanimously recommended the death penalty for each of the 12 murders Savage committed or directed between 1998 and 2004 and for a separate conviction of witness retaliation. That stemmed from the 2004 firebombing in North Philadelphia that killed six relatives of Eugene Coleman, a witness prepared to testify against Savage.

Still, Surrick's crowded courtroom was silent as his words - "You, Kaboni Savage, are sentenced to death" - hung in the air 13 times.

The judge also imposed separate sentences on noncapital charges to ensure that Savage, 38, will never be free. Surrick ordered him to serve a life prison term for racketeering conspiracy, 10 years for conspiring to commit murder in aid of racketeering, and 10 years for arson. (Savage is already serving a 30-year term for drug trafficking.)

The same jury that recommended death for Savage will now consider a death-penalty phase for Steven Northington, one of his enforcers and codefendants, whom the panel convicted of two murders.

Northington's hearing was scheduled to begin Monday. After consulting with the lawyers, the judge postponed it until Tuesday.


Contact John P. Martin at 215-925-2649, at jmartin@phillynews.com, or @JPMartinInky on Twitter.

|
|
|
|
|