Local/State

Guilty pleas write the last chapter in Old City beating death

Friday, April 26, 2013

"It shouldn't have happened. It could have been avoided. And here we are," said Kendall Kless, mother of Kevin Kless.

The murder case of Kevin Kless, a 23-year-old Temple University graduate, is closed.

Two of the three men involved in his deadly beating in the Old City section of Philadelphia on January 14, 2010 entered guilty pleas Friday.

Kenneth Santiago of Juniata Park pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. His prison sentence is 2-5 years.

21-year-old Stephen Ferguson of Fox Chase pleaded guilty to third degree murder. He got 5-10 years behind bars.

It was Ferguson who dealt the deadly blow to Kless's jaw at the end of a drunken confrontation at 2:30 a.m.

"There is no winner in this situation, and we recognize that. There is no happy outcome here," said Kendall Kless.

"There was no weapon used. The individuals had never been arrested before. The certainty of a conviction, the certainty of a jail sentence, would very much have been uncertain if we had gone to a jury trial," said Assistant District Attorney Brandon O'Malley.

Felix Carrillo, the third suspect in the beating death at 4th and Chestnut Streets already has pleaded guilty, and he's doing 2-5 years in prison.

The trio jumped out their car to confront Kless, who was walking with his girlfriend and another woman.

"Significant intoxication all around. There are, according to some of the defendants' confessions and according to some of the statements, there are words that were provoking," said Santiago's lawyer, Larry Kasner.

As they entered their pleas, all three suspects expressed their sorrow to the Kless family.

Does his grieving family buy the remorse?

"I don't know. That's hard to say. We'll see. We'll see how they live the rest of their lives," said Kendall Kless.

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Tags:
pennsylvania, philadelphia, old city, beating, homicide, local/state, vernon odom
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