Seven years after the murder of a UK student, friends and family have shut down after the accused pleaded guilty

Lexington, Kai. (WKYT) – The UK student family has been facing a wait of nearly seven years as three suspects in the murder of Jonathan Krueger have been charged.

Roman Gonzalez, Justin Smith and Efrine Diaz Jr. were all charged when they were shot dead during the Krueger robbery in the April 2015 attack.

Kruger was 22 years old when he was killed. The journalism student will always have a camera that captures some of the most iconic moments in UK history. He especially loved following the football and men’s basketball teams. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, those who know him well will tell you, they need more to explain how much he meant to them.

David Stephenson knows the emotion that a simple photo can bring.

“That’s why I love photography so much. It’s a moment captured forever, and you can come back as many times as you want, ”said Stephenson.

Kruger’s photos remind him of a glowing student.

“He’s one of the hard working people around. But he loved the work he did and I think it’s contagious and that’s a really great thing, ” Stephenson said.

He is an amazing photographer who can tell a story with just a snapshot.

“The world is losing someone who is fun and intelligent and talented and friendly,” Stephenson said.

On April 17, 2015, Kruger and a friend were walking near campus when they were approached by three men who tried to rob them, police said. His friend managed to escape, but Krueger was shot and killed.

“At the same time, the Kentucky kernel is losing a lot of staff of their own. So not only did they face the loss of a friend and colleague, they had to cover it up,” Stephenson said.

It was almost seven that night. All of the men charged in connection with his murder have pleaded guilty and were sentenced next month, a huge step towards justice on Thursday.

“Honestly I think today is a bigger day than sentencing. We know it’s over today and it’s over, ”Stephenson said.

Although it was the moment Krueger’s family and friends wanted to keep behind them, his memory and his photos still live on to tell his story.

“It’s very hard to think of where he is right now and what he will do. I know he will succeed, I have no doubt about that,” Stephenson said.

Kruger’s friend says he has influenced countless people in his 22 years through his passion and quest to live life to the fullest.

In his memory Scholarship Journalism benefits students and helps them purchase equipment and begin their journey by telling stories. If you would like to donate, be sure to click here and place the “Jonathan Kruger Memorial Scholarship” in the “Additional Instructions” section.

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