A hearing for the January killing of an alumnus was held today.
A preliminary hearing for the beating and killing of Kevin Kless, a 2010 alumnus, was held today, April 4.
Kless was killed Jan. 14 after being beaten on the steps of the Second Bank of the United States on Chestnut Street.
Police had said Kless was trying to pick up a cab when he shouted at a taxi. After the taxi briefly stopped, three men came out of a passing car and beat Kless. National Park Service rangers responded and administered first aid to Kless, who was pronounced dead later that night.
The 23 year-old graduated with a degree in risk management and insurance had recently returned to Philadelphia to start a job with the insurance broker Marsh.
Kerri Holland, Kless’s girlfriend, testified at the hearing today that she and Kless were walking arm-in-arm, and another female friend was walking just in front of them, when Kless was pulled away from her by two men who attacked from behind.
“The next thing I know Kevin is ripped from my right arm,” Holland said.
Holland testified that both Felix Carillo, 23, and Kenneth Santiago, 19 then began striking Kless on the sides of his head with “closed fists” possibly four to eight times as he attempted to fend off the blows.
She said the attack was followed by “a lull” of several seconds when a third man, who she couldn’t identify, walked up and delivered a single punch, leaving Kless to fall to the ground motionless.
“I checked for a pulse,” Holland said. “I pressed on his chest, it was instinctive, and then the forest rangers arrived.”
An assistant medical examiner testified, citing that, after the toxicology report, Kless’s alcohol level was .262. He added that the blow from the punch snapped Kless’s head around, ripping an artery.
Nearly a week after Kless was beaten, Carillo, Santiago, and Steven Ferguson, 20, were arrested on Friday, Jan. 20, and charged with murder.
Police, along with U.S. Marshalls, arrested the men after an investigation and tip led them to the suspects.
Leading up to the arrest, rewards totaling $20,000 were offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects. The reward climbed to $20,000 after pledges from the city, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Citizens Crime Commission of Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Patrick F. Dugan set a continuation date for the preliminary hearing for May 14, after defense attorneys requested a continuance to prepare written motions following three hours of testimony. The judge will then determine the charges for trial.
Kless was involved on Main Campus and was a member of Temple’s chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, a fraternity for students in the risk management and insurance field.
Dominique Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.