Men sentenced for 2015 death of UK student in ‘robbery gone wrong’

In March, Justin Smith, Roman Gonzalez and Efrain Diaz pleaded guilty in connection with Jonathan Krueger’s death.
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 11:47 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The men who pleaded guilty in connection with the death of a UK student have been sentenced.

In March, Justin Smith, Roman Gonzalez and Efrain Diaz pleaded guilty in connection with Jonathan Krueger’s death.

Krueger was a UK student studying journalism. On April 17, 2015, Krueger and a friend were walking near campus when police say they were approached by three men who tried to rob them. His friend was able to get away, but Krueger was shot.

The trio was in court Thursday morning for their sentencing.

Defense attorneys mentioned their clients had come from broken homes and got caught up with the wrong crowd. The defendants apologized to Krueger and his family.

The court heard statements from Krueger’s mother, sister, and his friend who was with him the night he was killed. They asked the judge to offer the maximum sentences to Gonzalez, Smith, and Diaz.

You could hear tears throughout the courtroom as they stood for their sentencing. Gonzalez was sentenced to a total of 35 years in prison, Smith 34 years in prison, and Diaz 20 years in prison.

Krueger’s mother, Mary Krueger, said, even though the sentencing won’t bring her son back, she felt it was fair.

“It doesn’t change anything in the long run, but I feel like there’s some responsibility and accountability, and I hadn’t really felt that until today,” she said.

Family members say Jonathan Krueger made friends easily and had a passion for life and photography.

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