Man Sentenced for Murder of Philly Journalist

20-year-old Robert Davis gets 15 to 30 years for murder of Josh Kruger
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Updated Jun 14, 2024 11:24 AM CDT
Philadelphia Journalist Shot Dead at Home
This image provided by the Philadelphia Police shows Robert Davis.   (Philadelphia Police Dept. via AP)
UPDATE Jun 14, 2024 11:24 AM CDT

A 20-year-old man has been sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison for the murder of Philadelphia freelance journalist Josh Kruger. Robert Davis was arrested three weeks after Kruger, 39, was shot seven times in his home in October last year, the New York Times reports. He pleaded guilty to offenses including third-degree murder. Police said the two men were in a sexual relationship. In interviews with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Davis' mother and older brother said the relationship with Davis began when he was just 15 years old and involved drugs and abuse.

Oct 3, 2023 2:00 AM CDT

Josh Kruger, who went from being homeless and struggling with addiction to advocating for Philadelphia's most vulnerable as a journalist in the city, was fatally shot in his South Philadelphia home early Monday. Police arrived around 1:30am to find the 39-year-old in the street outside his home with seven gunshot wounds, the New York Times reports. Police believe someone entered his Point Breeze home, shot him near the base of his stairs, and ran, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Kruger then apparently ran outside to try to seek help before collapsing. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital around 2:15am.

"As an openly queer writer who wrote about his own journey surviving substance use disorder and homelessness, it was encouraging to see Josh join the administration [of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney] as a spokesperson for the Office of Homeless Services," the district attorney says in a statement cited by CNN referring to Kruger's five years working for the city. He went on to write on topics including education, LGBTQ+ rights, homelessness, HIV, addiction, and art for publications including the Inquirer, the Philadelphia Citizen,, and websites for the local NPR station and PBS affiliate WHYY. Local officials and politicians, colleagues, and friends were mourning his loss.

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No weapon has been found and no arrests have yet been made, nor were there any signs of forced entry at Kruger's home. Sources tell the Inquirer police believe the killing may have been related to a domestic dispute—Kruger had recently written about an ex-partner breaking into his home, and authorities recovered "troubling" text messages between Kruger and an ex-partner—or drug-related. Methamphetamine was allegedly found inside Kruger's bedroom, the sources say. Kruger had also recently written about a rock being thrown through a window at his home, which he'd just purchased a few years ago, and a stranger coming to his home searching for their boyfriend, whom Kruger did not know, and threatening Kruger. (More Philadelphia stories.)

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