Before receiving his verdict in court yesterday, convicted drug dealer Steven Northington went on a 45-minute spiel about how the court system had set him up.

"I think from the time he arrived he saw the writing on the wall," said Assistant District Attorney Mark Gilson, "He just wanted to get out."

Northington was found guilty of the murder of a rival drug dealer, Barry Parker, by Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina. He had previously waived a jury trial.

Already serving a 19-year federal sentence for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine, Northington will now have to add life without parole for first-degree murder and a concurrent 20-year sentence for criminal conspiracy to his serving time.

Gilson said Northington spoke agitatedly about everything from the food served to him in prison to his lawyers, whom he called incompetent, during his complaint to the judge. His attempt to persuade Sarmina was futile.

"Anyone who sat in trial would know that he's guilty," said Gilson. "The evidence is overwhelming."

Police knew that Northington wanted Parker dead for taking over his turf at 7th and Pike streets in Hunting Park.

Gilson said they had a series of letters written in 2001 by Northington to convicted drug dealer Kaboni Savage asking him to protect his corner and product.

Right before the Feb. 23, 2003, murder, witnesses saw Northington circle the block three times in his car. An assassin appeared moments later and shot Parker three times. *