Convicted drug trafficker Dawud Bey, a onetime associate of notorious drug lord Kaboni Savage, told a federal judge yesterday that he was a changed man. "My past is no longer part of my future," Bey said, reading from a prepared statement.

But his past still haunts him.

U.S. District Judge Norma Shapiro sentenced Bey to 36 months yesterday for witness-tampering conspiracy, half of which is to be served after he completes a sentence he's serving for a drug-conspiracy conviction.

Advisory guidelines had called for a sentence of 33 to 41 months.

Bey, 41, of South Philadelphia, pleaded guilty in March, admitting he conspired with Savage from December 2003 to January 2005 to threaten four federal witnesses. Savage and Bey wanted to prevent the witnesses' testimony at a 2005 federal drug trial in which both men were defendants.

Defense attorney Arnold Joseph had argued against additional prison time, saying it would be "fundamentally unfair" to Bey. He was sentenced to 10 years in February 2006 on the drug charge.

Joseph reasoned that the sentencing judge in the 2006 case, U.S. District Judge Mary McLaughlin had already taken into account the alleged threats made against witnesses and added 42 months to Bey's sentence.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney David Troyer said any sentence imposed for witness-tampering should be consecutive to, or served after, Bey's current sentence. Troyer noted that the additional 42 months imposed by McLaughlin did not account for all the threats allegedly made by Bey, specifically those directed at Savage's former top drug aide, Eugene "Twin" Coleman.

The messages were conveyed to Coleman and other witnesses face-to-face, through intermediaries or via the Federal Detention Center's plumbing system, known as "the bowl," court papers said.

Bey and Savage had adjoining cells at the FDC.

Authorities said Bey twice sent messages in 2004 to Coleman not to testify.

Coleman's mother, 15-month-old son, cousin and three other children were killed on Oct. 9, 2004, when their North Philadelphia rowhouse was firebombed, allegedly by two of Savage's pals.

Savage, who is serving a 30-year sentence for drug offenses, is awaiting trial in March 2011 on racketeering, murder-for-hire and other offenses related to the 2004 firebombing. (Bey is not charged with wrongdoing in that case.)

After the firebombing, authorities installed an eavesdropping device near the toilet in Savage's cell that also recorded communications in surrounding spaces, including Bey's cell.

Bey was overheard on jailhouse tapes threatening to kill three witnesses - Paul Daniels, Craig Oliver and Robert Wilks - or their family members, according to court papers.

On Dec. 21, 2004, Bey told Savage about having confronted Daniels in the prison visiting room regarding his cooperation, court papers said. Bey recounted that he'd told Daniels: "I'm telling you, 'P,' snitching ain't cool . . . your ass is on the line; your life is on the line."

None of the witnesses or their family members was harmed.