U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
(215) 861-8200
September 19, 2014

Kaboni Savage Soldier Sentenced to Life

PHILADELPHIA—Robert Merritt, 34, of Philadelphia, was sentenced today to life in prison for his role in the October 2004 firebombing that killed members of a federal witness’s family on the orders of drug kingpin Kaboni Savage. On May 13, 2013, a federal jury found Merritt guilty of conspiracy to participate in a long-term, large-scale violent drug trafficking enterprise (RICO conspiracy) and the murders of family members of a federal witness, Eugene Coleman. Six people, including four children, were killed in the arson on Oct. 9, 2004.

Merritt participated in the firebombing with his cousin, Lamont Lewis, who pleaded guilty for his role in the murders. They were members of Kaboni Savage’s drug trafficking organization. Savage was also convicted at the May 2013 trial and sentenced to death for 12 counts of murder in aid of racketeering. Co-defendants Kidada Savage and Steven Northington were also convicted at trial and sentenced to life in prison.

U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick also ordered five years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and the Maple Shade, New Jersey Police Department. The United States Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshals Service, and HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) also assisted in the investigation.

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David E. Troyer and John M. Gallagher and Trial Attorney Steve Mellin of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section.

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