Judge Sentences Kaboni Savage Soldier to 40 Years in Prison
PHILADELPHIA—Lamont Lewis, 38, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to 40 years in prison for his role in the Oct. 9, 2004 retaliatory firebombing that killed six members of a federal witness’s family, including four children. Lewis pleaded guilty in 2011 and testified against Kaboni Savage, who ordered the firebombing, and three others co-conspirators.
As part of his 2011 plea agreement, Lewis pleaded guilty to an additional five murders, and agreed to testify against Savage, Robert Merritt, who assisted Lewis in carrying out the firebombing murders, Steven Northington, and Savage’s sister, Kidada. The murder plot targeted the family of Eugene Coleman who was cooperating in the drug trafficking case against Savage. Lewis was sentenced by U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick.
During his testimony at Savage’s trial, Lewis admitted that he spoke to Savage in the evening hours of October 8, 2004, at which time Savage told Lewis that Savage needed Lewis to carry out a favor for him. Savage told Lewis that his sister, Kidada Savage, would explain the plan after the phone call. Shortly after that, Kidada Savage advised Lewis of the plan to firebomb the Coleman residence and drove Lewis to the location to identify the Coleman house for Lewis. In the early morning hours of October 9, 2004, Lewis contacted Merritt and explained the plan to him. Lewis and Merritt filled up two gas cans while en route to the Coleman residence and, while Lewis gained entry and fired warning shots into the residence, Merritt threw a gas can with a lit cloth fuse, and then a second gas can, into the occupied Philadelphia row house in the predawn hours on Oct. 9, 2004. Six people, including four children ranging in age from 15 months to 15 years, were killed in the fire.
Kaboni Savage was sentenced to death for 12 counts of murder in aid of racketeering. Co-defendants Kidada Savage, Robert Merritt, and Steven Northington were all sentenced to life imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, and the Maple Shade, New Jersey Police Department. The United States Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshals Service, and the Philadelphia / Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force also assisted in the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David E. Troyer and John M. Gallagher of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorney Steve Mellin of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section.