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