The federal prosecutor in Philadelphia announced new charges against two men previously convicted of slayings in the city.
Kalif Tuggle and John Allan Kane, both of Philadelphia, face new charges related to previous cases, U.S. Attorney William McSwain said, adding that both were "mishandled" by District Attorney Larry Krasner's office.
Tuggle, who is currently serving at least a decade in prison for murdering Thomas Peterson in 2017, faces three new federal charges related to Peterson's shooting death. Those are carjacking, use of a firearm in the furtherance of a crime of violence and murder in the course of using and carrying a firearm.
Kane faces a federal charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
McSwain said the new indictments are part of his office's efforts to take on violent crime in Philadelphia because he doesn't believe Krasner is as tough on crime as he should be.
Tuggle received a third-degree murder plea offer from Krasner's office, according to McSwain, because Tuggle promised to identify his accomplice. But that never happened, McSwain said.
"The plea negotiations were a farce," McSwain said, accusing the DA's office of failing to get anything guaranteed from Tuggle before making the deal. "In the end, he did not (identify his accomplice in the carjacking and murder of Peterson), and his accomplice remains on the loose. ... Mr. Tuggle got a huge break for nothing."
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A spokeswoman for Krasner said the facts of the case do not support McSwain's assertions.
"It is a fact that Kalif Tuggle is serving a sentence that was determined by a judge after pleading guilty to murder and related felonies. It is also a fact that the District Attorney’s Office recommended that Tuggle be sentenced to serve 25 to 50 years of incarceration for his horrific crime," the DA's spokeswoman Jane Roh said.
Krasner, who was elected district attorney in 2017, has run one of the most progressive prosecutor's offices in the country. He is a former defense attorney who has taken steps to reform the local probation and bail systems. The population of city jails has plummeted during his three years in office.
McSwain, a Republican from Chester County appointed by President Donald to oversee the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, has often criticized the Democrat Krasner for an agenda that McSwain believes is causing an increase in homicides and gun violence in 2019 and 2020.
"The district attorney’s radical experiment has failed," McSwain said. "This violence is pervasive and it is killing the soul of this city."
Shootings and homicides are up in Philadelphia this year compared to 2019, but police department data shows violent crime overall is down 2.1%.
"Mass incarceration and death by incarceration have not made us safer," Roh said. "Throwing lives away in the name of politics has broken families and communities, further entrenching generational poverty to the point where quality of life indicators for Black people are now worse than prior generations. This Trump appointee is doing his boss’s bidding by telling fact-free tales about crime and public safety."