Metro Weekly

Robert Davis Gets 15 to 30 Years for Murder of Josh Kruger

Kruger, a gay journalist and recovering addict, was shot by Davis seven times at his home in South Philadelphia last October.

Josh Kruger – Photo: Instagram

Robert Davis pleaded guilty earlier this week to the murder of gay journalist Josh Kruger. He has been sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison.

Prosecutors claim Davis entered the 39-year-old Kruger’s home in Philadelphia’s Point Breeze neighborhood last October and shot him seven times before fleeing.

Kruger managed to call for help before stumbling outside his house and collapsing on the sidewalk. He was taken by police to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Earlier this year, Davis waived his right to a preliminary hearing and indicated that he intended to plead guilty to charges related to Kruger’s death, as well as to charges of aggravated assault and illegal gun possession for an unrelated incident in which he fired a gun at someone at a SEPTA train platform last September. No one was injured in that incident.

Four days after Kruger was killed, police identified Davis as the alleged killer. Police claimed Davis was a troubled young man whom Kruger was reportedly trying to help “get through life.”

But Davis’s family alleges that Kruger and Davis were involved in a years-long inappropriate relationship that began when the latter was 15 years old.

The family claims that Davis had sought to hide his drug addiction and his relationship with Kruger, who reportedly supplied the youth with drugs, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer

Media previously reported that police investigators discovered explicit photos and messages on Kruger’s phone, which anonymous sources claimed were “disturbing.”

It remains unclear whether those photos and messages were related to Davis. Sources close to the investigation also said meth was discovered in Kruger’s bedroom.

Last week, Damica Davis, the defendant’s mother, demanded police to release data from Kruger’s cell phone, including messages, photos, and videos. She claimed that the phone’s content would reveal the nature of Kruger’s relationship with her son, reports NBC Philadelphia.

Damica Davis claims Kruger and her son met on a dating app for LGBTQ men and began a relationship.

She also told members of the press that her son killed Kruger after the older male made a sexual request that Robert Davis wasn’t comfortable with. When her son refused to comply, she said, Kruger allegedly blackmailed him by threatening to post sexually explicit videos of Davis online.

Police have not commented publicly on the family’s allegations. 

Damica Davis told the Inquirer that her son called her just hours after Philadelphia police burst into her home searching for him. She said she urged him to turn himself in, but he was scared. After more than two weeks on the run, Davis climbed through a window into his family’s home. She said her son was close to having a mental breakdown over being potentially charged with murder.

Robert Davis’s brother, Jaylin Reason, said the 20-year-old appeared to be drunk or on drugs and was spiraling. He offered to help his brother turn himself in.

“I didn’t want him to keep living outside and going around and doing something to put himself in a deeper hole,” Reason said.

Kruger, a freelance journalist and local LGBTQ advocate, was well-known in Philadelphia, having written for multiple local and national news outlets, including LGBTQ NationThe Philadelphia Citizen, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

He previously worked for the city for five years, serving as communications director and spokesperson for the city’s Office of Homeless Services.

As someone who had previously struggled with drug abuse, homelessness, and mental health issues, he became an outspoken advocate for those experiencing housing insecurity or struggling with addiction.

He also wrote for POZ magazine, sharing his own experiences as a person living with HIV and dealing with stigma. He reportedly planned to write a book about his life experiences.

In the months prior to his murder, Kruger appeared to be under duress, sharing bizarre stories on social media about strangers harassing him at home and causing a scene for neighbors.

Six months prior to his death, he alleged that an ex-partner — whom he’d allowed to live with him after the man was released from jail — had broken into his house. He was eventually able to de-escalate the situation and convince the ex-partner to leave but was forced to change his locks.

He also claimed to be the victim of a targeted attack when a “heavy glass egg projectile” was thrown through his front window by an unknown person, who fled in a black truck. In a separate incident, someone who identified themselves as “Lady Diabla, the She-Devil of the Streets” came to his house searching for their boyfriend — whom he’d never met or heard of — and threatened to harm him.

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