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Suspect in killing of Philadelphia journalist and advocate expected to plead guilty, authorities say

The man accused of shooting and killing Joshua Kruger, a Philadelphia journalist and advocate, is expected to plead guilty to third-degree murder, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

Suspect Robert Davis, 19, knew Kruger, police have said.

“I can confirm that Mr. Davis waived his right to a preliminary hearing [on Tuesday] and informed the court that he intends to plead guilty to Josh Kruger’s murder,” DA spokesperson Jane Roh told CNN on Wednesday.

Davis, whose arraignment is scheduled for April 2, can change his mind about the plea, though prosecutors say all charges would be reinstated and he would go to trial. The suspect is accused of murder, evidence tampering and gun-related charges.

The Defender Association of Philadelphia, which is representing Davis, declined to comment.

Kruger, 39, was shot and killed in October 2023 at his home in the South Philadelphia neighborhood of Point Breeze, according to police. The journalist, who was struck seven times in his chest and abdomen, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Initially, Philadelphia police said they believed Kruger and Davis were acquaintances, but court documents later said investigators found the two were “involved in an intimate/sexual relationship.” Attorneys for Davis have not commented on that finding.

Kruger had covered LGBTQ rightsHIV addiction and homelessness for publications including The Philadelphia Citizen and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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.

Philadelphia Police released this image of Robert Davis. - Philadelphia Police
Philadelphia Police released this image of Robert Davis. - Philadelphia Police

“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.”

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.

Prosecutors said sentencing guidelines for third-degree murder call for between 15 and 30 years.

Davis also is expected to plead guilty to an unrelated shooting incident in which the victim was not wounded, officials said.

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