Northeast Times

Old City murder suspects to avoid death penalty

Start­Frag­ment

A 20-year-old from Fox Chase and two co-de­fend­ants were ordered to stand tri­al in the Janu­ary beat­ing death of a young pro­fes­sion­al in Old City, but a judge on Monday spared the de­fend­ants a cap­it­al murder tri­al.

Mu­ni­cip­al Court Judge Patrick F. Dugan ruled that the de­fend­ants, in­clud­ing Steven Fer­guson, of the 1100 block of Solly Ave., did not pre­med­it­ate the street-corner slay­ing of Kev­in Kless, al­though evid­ence showed that all three may have had a hand in the at­tack that led to Kless’ death.

Dugan ordered Fer­guson; Fe­lix Car­rillo, 23, of the 4800 block of N. Fairhill St.; and Ken­neth En­riquez-San­ti­ago, 20, of the 3800 block of Dun­gan St., to stand tri­al for third-de­gree murder, ag­grav­ated as­sault, con­spir­acy and simple as­sault.

Ac­cord­ing to testi­mony from the April 4 pre­lim­in­ary hear­ing, Kless, his girl­friend and their fe­male friend were at­tempt­ing to hail a cab on the 400 block of Chest­nut St. at about 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 14 when the de­fend­ants pulled up in a car and heated words were ex­changed.

The de­fend­ants ex­ited their car, punched Kless sev­er­al times and knocked him to the ground, wit­nesses said. Kless might have struck his head on the pave­ment and lost con­scious­ness.

The 23-year-old Kless, a New York State nat­ive and Temple Uni­versity gradu­ate, died that af­ter­noon at Thomas Jef­fer­son Uni­versity Hos­pit­al from severed ar­ter­ies in his neck as­so­ci­ated with blunt force head trauma.

Fer­guson con­fessed to hom­icide de­tect­ives that he took part in the beat­ing, claim­ing that he knocked Kless to the side­walk with a punch to the head, ac­cord­ing to court testi­mony.

Fol­low­ing the April 4 court ses­sion, Dugan gran­ted de­fense at­tor­neys a post­pone­ment al­low­ing them to file writ­ten ar­gu­ments against a cap­it­al murder tri­al.

All three de­fend­ants are sched­uled for a Com­mon Pleas Court ar­raign­ment on June 4 and are jailed at Cur­ran-From­hold Cor­rec­tion­al Fa­cil­ity. No tri­al date has been set. ••

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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