3 plead guilty to charges in death of university student

April 1, 2022 GMT

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) —

Three men have pleaded guilty to charges in the death of a University of Kentucky student who was fatally shot during a robbery.

Roman Gonzalez, Justin Delone Smith and Efrain Diaz, Jr. entered pleas Thursday in the 2015 death of Jonathan Krueger, news outlets reported. A trial in the case had been set to begin April 4.

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

Fayette County prosecutor Lou Anna Red Corn said in a statement to the Lexington Herald-Leader that she hopes the defendants’ pleas “will help protect our community and give their victims some comfort.”

Krueger, 22, was a junior who grew up in Perrysburg, Ohio, and was walking with a friend near campus around 2 a.m. when they were confronted by the suspects, who attempted to rob them, according to previous testimony in the case. Krueger and his friend cooperated at first, but the suspects began demanding more and the pair started to resist. The friend told officials he managed to flee and contacted authorities and police found Krueger lying in the street.