Savage’s defense rails against prosecution’s ‘trial magic’



THE LINCHPIN witnesses in the racketeering/murder trial of reputed Philly drug boss Kaboni Savage were simply reading from the prosecution’s script, defense lawyer Christian Hoey said during his closing arguments yesterday.

Hoey spent nearly five hours calling out the witnesses as “case jumpers” who used “trial magic” to get lighter sentences. He dug into the shady backstories and shifting testimonies of federal witnesses that he said inaccurately paint Savage as the head of a highly organized and powerful drug operation.

Eugene “Twin” Coleman lost his mother, son and four other relatives in an October 2004 firebombing he said was ordered by Savage, his former friend and boss, in retaliation for Coleman’s cooperation with federal investigators. Savage is charged with murdering six others, most deeply enmeshed within the city’s drug trade.

The prosecution’s case draws heavily from testimony from Coleman and other insiders facing jail time, Hoey noted.

Lamont Lewis, who admitted to kicking in the door of Coleman’s mother’s home so that his cousin could toss in two gas cans, testified during the trial that he agreed to cooperate against Savage and the other defendants in the hopes of avoiding the death penalty after admitting to a total of 11 murders.

Hoey said Paul Daniels, son of late drug boss Gerald “Bubbie” Thomas, initially told investigators that Savage was running 10 to 15 kilograms of cocaine out of one of his houses in 2005, but that Daniels upped the weight to 25 to 50 when asked again in February.

The authorities wanted to nail Kaboni as a big-time kingpin pulling the strings, Hoey said, and they had few reservations about squeezing damning, questionable testimony from crooks looking for lighter sentences.

“That kind of motivation produces whatever the government wants to hear,” Hoey said, adding that physical evidence is lacking.

Coleman testified in March that he had overheard Savage vowing to “kill all the f—ing rats” while both men were detained at the Federal Court’s holding cells, and later watched as Savage ran a finger across his throat and smiled at him.

Hoey noted that no surveillance footage supports Coleman’s account, and the longtime drug dealer had little credibility among investigators before he started pointing fingers at Savage.

The attorney said that Coleman told authorities in 2003 that associate Kareem “Bree” Bluntly was behind the slayings of associates Tyrone Tolliver and Mansur “Shafiq” Abdullah, but that law enforcement doubted Coleman enough to let Bluntly remain free until he also was slain nine months later.

“They didn’t believe him then, so why should you now?” he asked the jury.

The defense is set to continue laying out their closing arguments over the coming days.

Distracted Driving

Pennsylvania defines distracted driving as “an activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Drivers have to focus on driving, so they can react to the information on the road, such as road conditions, hazards and other drivers. Distracted drivers do not react appropriately and thus put others at risk for severe injury or death. Examples of distractions, besides using cell phones and texting, include drinking, eating, adjusting the radio, adjusting climate controls, adjusting seats, combing hair, putting on make-up, daydreaming, reaching for dropped items, engaging in heavy conversations, and focusing on events outside of the car.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence typically refers to alcohol use, but drug use can also impair drivers and cause severe car accidents.  In either situation, enjoying cocktails at happy hour, celebrating with drugs or alcohol, drinking too much wine for dinner and unwinding after a long week at work results in too many motorists driving under the influence.  Controlled substances impact each person differently, making it common for someone to misjudge his or her level of impairment.  These poor judgments can lead to severe and sometimes fatal car accidents.

Driver Fatigue

Driving without enough sleep is commonplace for many in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and across the nation. Truck drivers, shift workers, and those with sleep disorders are most vulnerable to causing an accident because they are drowsy or fatigued. Not having enough rest slows down reaction time and impairs the senses. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) claims that eighteen (18) hours without sleep impairs a driver to the same extent as someone who has a 0.08 blood or breath alcohol concentration after consuming alcohol.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that one-third of all car accidents involve speeding. Drivers who rush, run late, or simply lack patience may choose to speed when they get behind the wheel. Speeding makes it more likely that a driver will lose control of his or her vehicle and makes it more difficult to react to road hazards and other vehicles. Speeding also increases the impact of a car accident and makes it far less likely that a negligent driver may maintain control of his vehicle sufficient to prevent a collision. High speed car accidents make it far more likely that those involved will suffer severe injuries or death.


At HoeyLegal, we know from our litigation experience that tractor-trailer drivers often operate at least one cellular phone which is in use at, during, or immediately prior to a tractor-trailer accident. Additionally, most tractor-trailers are equipped with data recorders which capture, in real-time, important vehicle operation events including speed, hard braking and other evasive maneuvers taken by the operator and the tractor-trailer.  It is imperative that this evidence be obtained before it is destroyed.  At HoeyLegal, our trial attorneys will obtain any necessary court order to preserve this evidence for trial.


Oftentimes, there are several defendants responsible for the tractor-trailer accident. In most cases, at least two defendants are responsible for the ownership and operation of the tractor-trailer.  There may be additional defendants responsible for the hiring and retention of the tractor-trailer driver.  At HoeyLegal, our investigators will promptly identify the responsible defendants and immediately request the preservation of all evidence related to the hiring and retention of the driver, inspection of the vehicles and the supervision and drug/alcohol testing of the vehicle operator.


Our accident investigators include mechanics who will immediately respond to the accident site and the location where the truck has been impounded in order to photograph the truck and conduct necessary mechanical inspections of the vehicle. In the event that a court order is necessary to examine and inspect the trucks, HoeyLegal Attorneys will promptly file the necessary motions to enable the HoeyLegal mechanics and inspectors to conduct a prompt evaluation of the mechanical function of the at-fault tractor-trailer


Our expert accident investigators include former Pennsylvania State Police accident investigators and nationally recognized engineers who will carefully photograph the accident scene and conduct all necessary measurements of skid marks, yaw marks, displacement of debris and thoroughly examine the accident site to preserve all evidence for the time of trial.


Our investigators will promptly interview and record all witnesses that observed the accident and collect all biographical information from the witnesses so they will available to testify on your behalf at trial.

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