Philadelphia journalist was in relationship with his accused killer when suspect was a minor: Report

The man accused of gunning down a Philadelphia journalist in his home earlier this month had a long-standing sexual relationship with the victim starting when the suspect was an underage teen, according to the suspect’s family.

Police in Philadelphia issued a warrant last week for the arrest of Robert Davis, 19, who police said entered the home of 39-year-old Josh Kruger and shot him dead on Oct. 2.

Authorities said that the suspect and victim were acquainted and that Kruger was “trying to help [Mr. Davis] get through life.”

Damica Davis, the mother of Mr. Davis, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that her son admitted to seeing Kruger romantically since he was 15.

The suspect shared this information during a phone call last Friday, Ms. Davis said, hours after police raided her home while searching for the accused gunman. Ms. Davis said her son did not say he killed Kruger during the brief call.

“He was scared,” Ms. Davis told the newspaper. “He said ‘… He wanted me to do some stuff I didn’t want to do and if I didn’t do it, he said he was going to blackmail me.’”

Law enforcement sources told the Inquirer that explicit and “disturbing” messages and images were discovered on Kruger’s phone. Police sources did not say whether those contents were connected to Mr. Davis.

When he was a legal minor, Ms. Davis said she knew her son was seeing an “older white woman” he met online who “worked for the government.”

His family also asked Mr. Davis at the time why he was receiving messages from a person named “Josh.” The suspect told his family that was the woman’s gay brother.

Kruger worked for the city of Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services between 2015 and 2020 — the same time Mr. Davis said he was in a relationship with the older white woman who worked for the government.

Ms. Davis said her son would sometimes come home under a drug-like haze or with expensive gifts after being with the woman.

The mother said she once followed Mr. Davis to the block where Kruger lived, but never saw which house her child entered.

“It’s tragic what happened,” Ms. Davis told the Inquirer about her son allegedly killing Kruger.

She added that there is no excuse if the accusations are true, but that she feels “like my son is a victim in this, as well.”

Kruger was a freelance journalist who wrote about LGBTQ issues. He was also open about his past episodes of homelessness and drug use, and that he was HIV-positive.

Mr. Davis remains at large. Authorities are urging the suspect to turn himself in.

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