Josh Kruger’s killer sentenced to 15-30 years in state prison

Josh Kruger headshot and Robert Edmond Davis mugshot
From left, Josh Kruger and Robert Edmond Davis.

Robert Edmond Davis, who murdered gay journalist Josh Kruger eight months ago inside Kruger’s Point Breeze residence, was sentenced this week to a minimum of 15 years in state prison.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Barbara A. McDermott imposed the sentence after accepting a negotiated plea agreement during a June 10 court proceeding.

On Oct. 2, 2023 Davis went to Kruger’s residence around 1:25 a.m. and shot him three times before fleeing the scene. Kruger staggered to the sidewalk, grievously wounded. He died about an hour later at Penn-Presbyterian Hospital. Davis, 20, was arrested 23 days later at his South Philadelphia residence.

Pursuant to the plea agreement, Davis pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and related firearm offenses. Davis also pleaded guilty to firing a weapon in a South Philadelphia subway station about a week prior to murdering Kruger. His total sentence is 15 to 30 years in state prison. 

According to relatives of Davis, Kruger sexually abused Davis for multiple years, while Davis was a minor. Details of the alleged sexual abuse weren’t discussed during the 30-minute court proceeding.

However, Kruger’s brother, Zach, expressed sensitivity to Davis’ situation, when delivering a victim-impact statement.

Zach Kruger emphasized he’s opposed to child sexual abuse. He said his brother, Josh, wasn’t the victim of a hate crime. To the contrary, he said Josh Kruger “played a significant role” in his own death.

Additionally, Zach Kruger urged McDermott to help ensure Davis receives appropriate mental-health services in prison.

For her part, McDermott said she couldn’t promise Davis will receive mental-health services.

“It’s not a perfect system,” she noted. “A lot depends on availability.”

McDermott expressed approval of the negotiated plea. 

“There is a price to be paid for killing someone — no matter what,” McDermott said. “And this is an appropriate price.”

Andrea Konow, a defense attorney for Davis, said mitigating factors regarding the case were submitted to the court confidentially, rather than having the information in the public domain.

“It [murder] was an unfortunate circumstance involving a history with Mr. Kruger,” Konow asserted. “The information [regarding alleged sexual abuse] does not need to be in the public record.” 

Konow said Davis is remorseful and approves of the plea agreement. 

“We ask you to accept it,” Konow told the judge. 

Dressed in a black sweatshirt and jeans, Davis told McDermott he accepts responsibility for his actions. 

“I got emotional,” Davis said. “I got upset. I made the biggest mistake of my life. I wish I could take it back.”

Davis added: “I’m truly sorry I did it. I think about Josh and the Kruger family every day of my life.”

While Davis spoke, Kruger’s mother Kathy wept softly in the rear of the courtroom. Kruger’s father Kenneth died in 2018.

Outside the courtroom, prosecutor Jeffrey H. Palmer said he’s pleased with the outcome of the case. 

“We’re happy with the result and we hope it will give the [Kruger] family some comfort,” Palmer said.

“No one was a winner today,” said Asa Khalif, a community advocate who attended the proceeding. “Mr. Kruger is dead and Mr. Davis — a sexual-abuse victim — will be in prison for at least 15 years. It’s a tragedy that could have been avoided.”

Danica Davis, the mother of Davis, told PGN she would have preferred the case went to trial. She expressed hope her son will receive mental-health programming in prison. 

“It’s important for him to have that,” she said.

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