Kaboni Savage
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Kaboni Savage
?.Kaboni Savage
Born (1975-01-01) January 1, 1975 (age 45)
StatusIncarcerated, awaiting execution
Other namesBonnie, Yusef Billa, Joseph Amill[1]
Alma materFrankford High School
ChildrenCiara "CeCe" Savage (deceased),[2] two other daughters, and one son[3]
Parent(s)Barbara Savage (mother)[3]
RelativesKidada Savage (sister), one other sister[3]
Witness retaliation, drug trafficking, murder
Criminal penaltyDeath
Jasmine Vadell (girlfriend)[2]

Kaboni Savage (born January 1, 1975) is an American drug dealer, organized crime leader, and murderer who is currently on death row for ordering the firebombing of a house where a federal witness lived, killing six people (including several children). He is the first man from Philadelphia, in modern history, to receive a federal death sentence. He has twelve convictions for murder, one fewer than the Pennsylvania state record, and the most for anyone in Philadelphia.[4] Savage was the first person sentenced to death by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania since the federal death penalty resumed in 1988.[5][6]


While at Federal Detention Center, Philadelphia, Savage ordered acts of intimidation, including the murders in a row house

Savage, a Frankford High School drop out, began boxing at the Front Street Gym in North Philadelphia. He had one professional boxing fight, which he won.[3]

Savage began his operations as a drug dealer in Hunting Park and became a higher-level dealer.[4] According to federal authorities, Savage, from 1998 to around 2004 had distributed hundreds of kilograms of cocaine in the Philadelphia area.[7]

Authorities accused Savage of personally killing a stranger, Kenneth Lassiter, after Lassiter's car bumped into Savage's while the two were trying to park their respective cars.[4] Savage was acquitted of Lassiter's murder after the lead witness in the case, Tybius "Tib" Flowers, was also murdered. Savage is suspected of ordering Flowers's murder.[7]

Savage ordered the deaths of others. On Savage's orders, a hit man, Lamont Lewis, shot drug dealer Carlton Brown, a competitor of Savage, in 2001. Savage had ordered five other deaths of adult men.[4] Savage engaged in multiple attempts at intimidation while held at Federal Detention Center, Philadelphia (FDC Philadelphia).[8] While there he threatened to kill children of those who testified against him.[2]

Less than one week after he was acquitted in the Lassiter case, Savage was arrested and accused of heading a drug trafficking network.[7] Savage received a 30-year prison sentence for his drug trafficking activities.[9] Savage was convicted of multiple charges, including money laundering, witness intimidation, and drug offenses.[10] Savage was imprisoned in a federal facility near Florence, Colorado.[11]

Savage's daughter, Ciara "CeCe" Savage, died at age 9 during a gang shooting in York, Pennsylvania. She was a student at Ross Elementary School. Police and Jasmine Vadell, Ciara's mother, stated that the shooting was unrelated to Savage's gang activities in Philadelphia. Vadell had raised Ciara by herself and had not been romantically involved with Savage for years.[2]


Eugene "Twin" Coleman,[8] who was previously working with Savage, agreed to testify against Savage in a drug trial. Coleman was arrested and put in federal custody on October 8, 2004.[12] In March 2003, Coleman had murdered his friend, 26-year-old Tyrone Toliver of Cherry Hill, New Jersey.[10] Federal agents asked Coleman's 54-year-old mother,[4] Marcella Coleman, a prison guard at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility,[10] to move to a new house; she refused, believing that she could defend herself.[12] Savage was convicted partly due to Coleman's testimony.[10]

In return Savage ordered the house of Coleman's mother in North Philadelphia to be burned down.[13] At the time Savage was in custody at FDC Philadelphia.[11] At about 5 a.m. on October 9, 2004, the rowhouse was firebombed. The fire originated in a living room on the first floor, traveled quickly, and was extinguished after about 20 minutes.[10] There were no survivors;[14] it was the deadliest mass murder in Philadelphia since the Lex Street murders in 2000.[10] Included in the death toll were Coleman's 15-month-old son Damir Jenkins, his mother Marcella Coleman, three other youths -- 10-year-old Khadjah Nash, 12-year-old Tahj Porchea, and 15-year-old Sean Rodriguez -- who were related to Coleman, and 34-year-old Tameka Nash, Coleman's cousin and the mother of Khadjah Nash.[4] The family dog, a pit bull, also perished.

Savage's sister, Kidada Savage, known as "Da" or "Lil' Sis",[14] helped plot this crime by recruiting Lamont Lewis,[15] the hitman.[4] Lewis had been previously acquitted of killing Carlton "Muhammad" Brown, who died in 2001.[10] Lewis in turn asked Robert "B.J." Merritt, Jr., his cousin, to help him.[16] Kidada Savage showed the hitman where the house was located.[14] According to federal prosecutors Merritt was the one who lit a gasoline can and threw one and another one into the house.[17] Lewis said that both he and Merritt tossed cans into the house.[16]

Lewis stated that he did not know children were in the house until after they died, and that Kidada Savage only gave him $2,000 even though she promised him $5,000. After authorities captured Lewis he agreed to cooperate.[4]

Coleman stated that Dawud "Cool" Bey, another drug dealer who was communicating with Savage while being held at FDC Philadelphia,[8] told him that Savage wanted his family dead.[9]

Police did not find Lewis at a house in West Philadelphia which they believed was his,[10] but later arrested him in 2007 when he was driving his car.[10]

Trials and sentencing

ADX Florence, where Savage is held

Savage was held at FDC Philadelphia during his trial.[18]

Jury selection for Savage's trial occurred in September 2012. Lamont Lewis served as the star witness,[4] testifying against Kaboni and Kidada Savage as well as Merritt and Steven Northington.[19] The trial ended in May 2013.[4] On May 13, 2013, Savage was convicted of 12 counts of murder in aid of racketeering as well as one count each of the following crimes: conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise, and retaliating against a witness by murder.[5]

In June 2013, Savage was given 13 death sentences, one for witness intimidation and one each for a total of 12 murders, including those from the retaliatory firebombing.[20] The sentences were formally pronounced by Judge Richard Barclay Surrick.[4]

Savage, Federal Bureau of Prisons# 58232-066, is currently incarcerated in ADX Florence near Florence, Colorado.

In May 2013, Kidada Savage was convicted of various crimes, including retaliating against witnesses and aiding racketeering. In February 2014, Surrick imposed a sentence of life imprisonment plus a consecutive ten-year sentence;[21] the life sentence was mandatory. Kidada Savage tried to delay the sentencing but Surrick denied the request.[13]

Merritt was given a life sentence.[17] Lewis was given a 40-year prison sentence.[19] Northington received a life sentence.[22]


FBI Special Agent Kevin Lewis was given an award for his work on the case.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Second Superseding Federal indictment against Kaboni Savage" (PDF). U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Murse, Tom (2009-05-14). "Feds: Girl's dad violent drug boss". Lancaster Online. Retrieved .
  3. ^ a b c d Anatasia, George (2004-10-14). "Kin say arson suspect is innocent Kaboni Savage's mother said her son was not involved in a fatal N. Phila. blaze that killed relatives of a drug informant". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved .
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Martin, John P. (2013-06-02). "Death penalty for Kaboni Savage". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved .
  5. ^ a b "Philadelphia Drug Kingpin Sentenced to Death, Co-defendant to Face Life in Prison". U.S. Department of Justice. 2013-06-13. Retrieved .
  6. ^ a b Tawa, Steve (2014-03-20). "Phila. FBI Agent Honored For Work That Brought Ruthless Drug Kingpin To Justice". CBS Philadelphia. Retrieved .
  7. ^ a b c Anastasia, George; Maria Panaritis (2004-04-14). "Phila. man charged in cocaine ring Kaboni Savage was arrested yesterday. He was acquitted of murder last month". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved .
  8. ^ a b c "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. DAWUD BEY a/k/a "Cool"." U.S. Department of Justice. p. 2/13.
  9. ^ a b Martin, John P. (2013-03-23). "Lawyer hammers government witness at Kaboni Savage trial". Retrieved .
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Schaefer, Mari A. (2007-08-19). "Arson-case figure faces separate hit-man charge". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved .
  11. ^ a b Anastasia, George (2009-05-18). "On tape, Savage gloats over six deaths He faces murder charges in the 2004 firebombing in N. Phila. that killed an informant's relatives". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved .
  12. ^ a b Miller, Larry (2013-04-30). "Closing arguments begin in Kaboni Savage trial". The Philadelphia Tribune. Archived from the original on 2016-08-16. Retrieved .
  13. ^ a b Shaw, Julie (2014-02-24). "Kaboni Savage's sister to spend life behind bars". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved .
  14. ^ a b c Anastasia, George. "Hell In A North Philadelphia Row House." The Independent Voice. September 19-October 2, 2013. p. 4. Retrieved on August 16, 2016.
  15. ^ "Sister of drug kingpin Kaboni Savage sentenced to life in prison". WPVI-TV (ABC 6 Philadelphia). 2014-02-21. Retrieved .
  16. ^ a b Martin, John P. (2013-05-15). "Kaboni Savage convicted in 12 murders". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved .
  17. ^ a b Hanson, Tony (2014-09-19). "Firebomber Who Killed 6 in North Philadelphia Gets Life Sentence". CBS Philadelphia. Retrieved .
  18. ^ Anastasia, George (2011-03-28). "Drug kingpin Kaboni Savage is unhappy at the Federal Detention Center". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved .
  19. ^ a b "Judge Sentences Kaboni Savage Soldier to 40 Years in Prison". U.S. Department of Justice. 2014-11-05. Retrieved .
  20. ^ "Federal judge imposes 13 death sentences on Kaboni Savage". WPVI-TV (ABC Philadelphia 6). 2013-06-13. Retrieved .
  21. ^ "Sister of drug kingpin Kaboni Savage sentenced to life in prison". WPVI-TV (ABC Philadelphia 6). 2014-02-21. Retrieved .
  22. ^ "Fate of Kaboni Savage Co-Defendant Determined". U.S. Department of Justice. 2013-06-13. Retrieved .

External links

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