Man accused of killing Philadelphia journalist pleads guilty to murder

The man accused of fatally shooting Philadelphia journalist Josh Kruger last October pleaded guilty to third-degree murder on Monday, according to court documents.

Robert Davis, 20, was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison for the murder charge based on a negotiated plea deal, as well as 1 to 2 years for a separate incident of carrying a firearm without a license.

Both the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Defenders Association of Philadelphia declined to comment on the plea deal when reached by CNN.

Kruger, 39, was shot and killed in his home in the South Philadelphia neighborhood of Point Breeze in the early morning hours of October 2, 2023. Davis, who was 19 at the time, was arrested for his murder three weeks later.

Court documents revealed police found Davis and Kruger had an “intimate/sexual relationship” prior to Kruger’s death.

Kruger had been a well-known journalist and columnist advocating for issues such as LGBTQ+ rights and homeless support in publications including The Philadelphia Citizen and The Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2014 and 2015, Kruger won the Society of Professional Journalists’ award for newspaper commentary in Pennsylvania. He also worked for the city government of Philadelphia.

Kruger’s work built on his own personal experiences living with HIV and experiencing homelessness, according to LinkedIn. In his profile, he described himself as a “destroyer of stigma and bureaucratic silos” and a “believer in the common good.” He used social media as a platform to write about his own experience surviving addiction and continuing to work with people dealing with addiction in Philadelphia.

He worked for the city of Philadelphia for five years, according to his website and LinkedIn profile. He worked with the Department of Public Health, the Office of Homeless Services and the mayor’s office.

“We are shocked and saddened by Josh’s death,” then-Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement given to CNN in October.

“Josh cared deeply about our city and its residents, which was evident both in his public service and in his writing,” said Kenney. “His intelligence, creativity, passion, and wit shone bright in everything that he did – and his light was dimmed much too soon. We were exceedingly fortunate to call him a colleague and our prayers are with everyone who knew and loved him.”

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