By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The jury hearing the three-month long federal murder trial of a Philadelphia drug kingpin has begun deliberations. KYW’s Steve Tawa reports.
Federal prosecutors opened their case against 38-year old Kaboni Savage back in February, letting jurors know from the start that they were seeking the death penalty. They claim Savage was ‘ruthless’ in punishing rivals – all told he’s linked to 12-killings – five of them drug dealers – but they also contend he targeted innocent family and friends of a witness.
In one alleged act of witness intimidation, when he heard word while locked up that a former associate was going to testify against him at a drug trial, authorities say Savage ordered a 2004 firebombing attack on a Eugene Coleman’s family home in North Philadelphia. Coleman’s mother, infant son, three other relatives and a friend were killed.
Savage did not testify, but jurors heard him, through numerous tapes, both secretly recorded jailhouse conversations and testimony from his 2005 drug trial.
His defense team asked jurors not to be swayed by his rantings behind bars or the testimony of a star witness who confessed to numerous murders.
If convicted, Savage and two others face the potential of the death penalty, and his sister faces life in prison.