Friday, May 31, 2013

Jury Says Kaboni Savage Should Die

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

The jury voted for death.

Thirteen times.

After deliberating for about eight hours over two days, the anonymously chosen panel in the murder-racketeering trial of North Philadelphia drug kingpin Kaboni Savage announced late this afternoon its decision to sentence Savage, 38, to death by lethal injection.

The panel chose death again and again, imposing the death sentence once for each of the 12 murder counts in the case and a final time for a count of murder as an act of retaliation against a witness. Six of the murders and the retaliation count were related to the October 2004 firebombing of a home in North Philadelphia in which two women and four children were killed.

The victims were family members of Eugene Coleman, a Savage associate who had begun cooperating against him. The arson was considered one of the most horrendous examples of witness intimidation in a Philadelphia underworld where witnesses and their families have been described as moving targets by law enforcement and underworld sources.

Tapes played during the trial included a conversation in which Savage underscored that situation. "No fuckin' witness, no crime," he said.

Christian Hoey, one of Savage's two court-appointed lawyers, said last night that he was "disappointed" in the jury's decision, but respected the panel's work. He said both the conviction and the death sentences would be appealed, a process that could take years.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Savage Tape No. 6: "Pour it on them burnt bitches!"




About these tapes:

In 2004 the FBI secreted a listening device in the prison cell of Kaboni Savage at the Federal Detention Center.

Savage was awaiting trial on drug trafficking charges and was a suspect in several homicides. The North Philly cocaine kingpin was being held in the prison's Special Housing Unit (SHU) with limited access to other prisoners.

Dozens of conversations were recorded in which Savage ranted about former associates who were cooperating. Savage said he would kill the cooperators and their families.

The tapes were originally played at Savage's drug trial in 2005. He was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Many of these tapes have also been played at Savage's ongoing murder-racketeering trial in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Killer Who Loved His Little Daughter

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

The words were spoken in a soft and loving voice.

There was none of the arrogance or anger that the jury had heard in so many of his other conversations. This was Kaboni Savage, loving father, talking by phone to his four-year-old daughter Siani.

"I love you," he said, a lilt in his voice. "I miss you. I can't wait to see you."

The little girl, who had not seen her father in months, responded in kind. This was in September 2004. Savage had been arrested in April of that year.

 He's been in jail ever since.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Life Or Death In Kaboni Savage Trial

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

Death by lethal injection or life in a "concrete box."

That's what the future holds for Kaboni Savage, his lawyer told a federal jury today at the start of the capital punishment phase of Savage's racketeering-murder trial.

In a low-key, but pointed opening statement, the lawyer, William Purpura, asked the jury to choose the box -- the concrete prison cell where Savage will spend the rest of his life.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Troyer, on the other hand, asked the jury to sentence Savage, 38, to death for orchestrating a series of murders, including one of the "most heinous crimes" ever committed in the Philadelphia underworld, a firebombing in which six innocent people -- two women and four children -- were killed.

Capital punishment in federal cases, Troyer told the jury, is reserved for the most heinous crimes and the worst offenders.

"This is that case," the prosecutor said.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Catholic League Attacks The Philadelphia Inquirer

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, ripped The Philadelphia Inquirer today for not printing a $58,000 ad that would have called attention to the local district attorney's prosecution of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Donohue also ripped the Inky's news coverage.

"There are two scandals going on in Philadelphia, and both involve injustices done to the Catholic Church," Donohue said. "One is legal, and the other is journalistic."

"The legal scandal involves the prosecution of three Catholic priests, and one Catholic layman, in a case so incredible that it would be turned down as too fictional a script for a TV crime show," Donohue wrote. "The other involves the Philadelphia Inquirer's decision to keep the public in the dark about this case."

Banned By The Inky


Here's the full text of the two-page $58,000 ad submitted by the Catholic League last week that was turned down for publication by the Inquirer:

FOUR CATHOLIC MEN FRAMED

One of the most outrageous miscarriages of justice ever witnessed has been taking place right before us in Philadelphia. Three Catholic priests, and one Catholic layman, have been railroaded by an ambitious D.A. That the media have failed to report fully and accurately on this story is also a disgrace. But it is not too late to set the record straight. It may even provoke a second look at what really happened.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Silence Of The Archbishop And The Inquirer

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, has called for an investigation of the local district attorney's office. He wants to know if any prosecutor had a financial stake in the criminal convictions of three priests and a former Catholic school teacher.

In response, the disciplinary board of the state Supreme Court has assigned disciplinary counsel Donna M. Snyder to investigate.

Meanwhile, the National Catholic Reporter, the paper that led the way in exposing the national scandal of clerical sex abuse, has run an editorial questioning the credibility of the district attorney's star witness.

Here's what NCR had to say about the witness responsible for putting three priests and a former teacher in jail: "The discrepancies between Billy Doe's accounts to the archdiocese and later to the grand jury are not minor, they are utterly different versions of reality."

The NCR editorial also called into question the conduct of the district attorney's office: "Years of elaborate deceptions by Catholic leaders are hardly avenged if the response is more cunning deception by civil society." That's why NCR labeled the D.A.'s prosecution, which may have relied on a phony plea bargain, "a shallow victory." The newspaper called on Seth Williams to answer the questions originally posed months ago by this blog, questions that the D.A. continues to stonewall.

So we know where a couple of national institutions stand on the local district attorney's self-described "historic" prosecution of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

What about two local institutions that have not been heard from?

There's a prominent leader of a local Catholic organization who continues to publicly remain silent about the convictions of the three priests and the school teacher: Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

We're also wondering why The Philadelphia Inquirer, the city's paper of record, is snoozing through yet another news cycle involving the district attorney's flawed investigation, suspect star witness, and error-filled grand jury report.

Thanks to another ploy by the Catholic League, that slumber should end on Monday.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Kaboni Savage Guilty Of 12 Murders

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

Kaboni Savage, the cocaine kingpin who authorities said launched a reign of terror in the Philadelphia drug underworld, was convicted of 12 counts of murder in aid of racketeering today, including the 2004 firebombing arson in which two women and four children were killed.

Savage, 38, showed no emotion as the jury forewoman read the verdicts late this afternoon. The jury reading was interrupted briefly when Savage's older sister, Conchetta, screamed out in dismay.

"Bullshit," she said after the guilty verdicts, one after another, began to mount. "Bullshit ... You're killing me ... That's my family." After resisting attempts to subdue her by other family members and federal marshals, she was led out of the courtroom.

"I love you, man," she said as she finally agreed to leave.

Savage, a former professional boxer, is already serving a 30-year sentence for a 2005 drug trafficking conviction. He could be sentenced to death in the current case. A penalty phase of the trial, before the same jury, is set to begin on May 20.

Catholic League Seeks Investigation of District Attorney's Office

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

Bill Donohue
The Catholic League has asked a state disciplinary board to investigate whether any member of the district attorney's office has a financial interest in Billy Doe's civil suit against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, sent a May 9th letter seeking an investigation to Anthony P. Sodroski, Disciplinary Counsel-in-Charge of the Disciplinary Board of the state Supreme Court.

In the letter, which he released to the press, Donohue stated, "What needs to be settled is whether someone from the office of D.A. Seth Williams will be receiving a referral fee for his work in connection with the 'Billy Doe' civil suit" against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia."

"You should know that we are pursuing other avenues of redress in this case," Donohue wrote Sodroski. "Never in my 20 years as president of the Catholic League have I seen a more egregious series of legal misconduct stemming from one case. All I am asking from you is cooperation in this particular matter."

A spokesman for the Disciplinary Board said it's office policy not to confirm or deny whether a complaint has been received.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fumo Case May Be Headed Back To Judge Buckwalter

By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

For a third time in the past five years, the case of the United States of America v. Vincent J. Fumo may be headed back to the courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter.

Buckwalter is the judge who back in 2009 originally sentenced Fumo to 55 months in jail and ordered him to pay $2.7 million in fines and restitution after a federal jury convicted the former state senator on 137 counts of fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

But then the government filed two successful appeals with the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bigtrial Live and Local On The Big Talker

Listen to the May 6 radio interview between Ralph Cipriano and Rich Zeoli here:

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/audio/1567-rich-zeoli/the-rich-zeoli-show-may-6th-2013-ralph-cipriano/

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Savage Story: A Cold And Brutal Saga Of Death And Destruction

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

Jurors deliberating the fate of cocaine kingpin Kaboni Savage heard 13 weeks of testimony full of murder and mayhem. The case, built around 12 homicides, includes a firebombing in which two women and four children were "cooked" alive, the prosecution alleges.

But what the panel of nine women and three men (in addition to six alternates) also got during the trial was an insider's view of the drug underworld, a seldom heard, first-person account delivered in bits and pieces by a series of government witnesses who did business on some of the meanest streets in the toughest neighborhoods in the city of Philadelphia.

"We were like the Black Mafia," said Eugene Coleman, one of several former Savage drug associates who testified against him.

"He would supply the drugs and if there was any problems, he would have my back," said Lamont Lewis, a Savage hitman-turned-witness.

"You need protection in the drug game," added Paul Daniels, another Savage associate who took the stand.

Savage Tape No. 5: "That's how I was taught."


About these tapes:

In 2004 the FBI secreted a listening device in the prison cell of Kaboni Savage at the Federal Detention Center.

Savage was awaiting trial on drug trafficking charges and was a suspect in several homicides. The North Philly cocaine kingpin was being held in the prison's Special Housing Unit (SHU) with limited access to other prisoners.

Dozens of conversations were recorded in which Savage ranted about former associates who were cooperating. Savage said he would kill the cooperators and their families.

The tapes were originally played at Savage's drug trial in 2005. He was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Many of these tapes have also been played at Savage's ongoing murder-racketeering trial in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Local District Attorney Missing In Action

DA MIA
By Ralph Cipriano
for Bigtrial.net

UPDATED

Here are the questions posed by National Catholic Reporter that District Attorney Seth Williams refused to answer:

1. At the plea bargain hearing of Edward V. Avery, why didn't the district attorney ask the former priest if he had raped Billy Doe?

2. What is the district attorney's explanation for why he was able to charge Msgr. Lynn with endangering the welfare of a child [EWOC] when a previous district attorney, Lynne Abraham, and a previous grand jury, looked at the same state law and declared that Msgr. Lynn couldn't be charged with EWOC?

3. Why did the district attorney deem Billy Doe a credible victim when he gave wildly varying accounts of the alleged rapes, and told a fantastic story about being raped by three different predators, without any corroborating witnesses or physical evidence? A story contradicted by Billy Doe's mother, his older brother, and priests, nuns and teachers from St. Jerome's?


 

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