Three suspects plead guilty in 2015 robbery, shooting death of UK student

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Posted at 10:56 AM, Mar 31, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Three men charged in a robbery and shooting that killed a UK student have pleaded guilty Thursday morning.

Justin Smith, Roman Gonzalez, and Efrain Diaz Jr. pleaded guilty in connection with Jonathan Krueger's 2015 death. Krueger was the photo editor of The Kentucky Kernel, UK's student newspaper.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty to murder and two counts of robbery. Smith pleaded guilty to manslaughter, two counts of robbery, and evading police. Diaz pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery.

The trial has been pushed back several times due to the pandemic and a question about the death penalty that went all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

While it was a consideration before, the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office said that it would not seek the death penalty.

A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for April 28.