Cops: three men charged in fatal assault

Kevin Kless (inset) suffered a fatal beating outside the Second Bank of the United States, just steps from Independence Hall. (Sarah J. Glover/Staff)

Three men are facing murder charges for the fatal assault of Kevin Kless, a 23-year-old Temple graduate who was beaten unconscious on Chestnut Street near 4th and died at Jefferson Hospital last Saturday.

A tipster led police to the suspects, Steven Ferguson, 20, Kenneth Santiago, 19, and Felix Carrillo, 23, Lt. James Clark, commanding officer of the Philadelphia Police Homicide Division said early Saturday morning.

Kless was leaving a bar in Old City along with his girlfriend and a second female companion around 2:30 a.m. last Saturday when he tried and failed to hail a cab in the bitter cold.

Police said Kless began shouting and cursing, and the suspects likely believed his anger was directed at them. They got out of the car and beat Kless unconscious in front of the two women who screamed for help. After the assault, the men left Kless lying on the sidewalk in the Historic District, jumped back in their car and sped away, police said.

Ferguson, of Solly Avenue near Tabor in Fox Chase, was brought to police headquarters for questioning around 5 p.m., Clark said.  

Santiago, of Dungan Street near Erie Avenue in Juniata Park, was brought in for questioning around 8 p.m.

Carrillo, of Fairhill Street near Louden in Olney, was in custody by 8:30 p.m., Clark said, adding that none of the men were known to police before this incident.

Early Saturday morning, Clark, along with Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross, said the police department was sure that the right men were arrested in connection with the brutal attack. Mug shots of the men were not immediately available after police announced the arrests.

“This is a very tragic event,” Ross said in the lobby of police headquarters early Saturday morning, “But, we are happy that this job came to a successful conclusion.”

The City of Philadelphia, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Citizens Crime Commission offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the suspects.

Ross and Clark thanked the tipster, homicide detectives and the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force for their help in tracking the men down.