Two weeks before he allegedly killed a man who was out walking his dog in Brewerytown, a suspect in the slaying — who had two previous robbery convictions — was released on dramatically lowered bail in an armed kidnapping and an assault case, court records show.
Police said Sunday that they had arrested Davis L. Josephus, 20, in the slaying of 25-year-old Milan Loncar, who was shot Wednesday night while walking his dog about a block from his home.
On Dec. 29, Josephus posted $20,000 bail on charges of motor vehicle theft and kidnapping, and $12,000 on charges including aggravated assault on a prison guard. Those sums had been reduced from originally amounts of $100,000 and $200,000, respectively.
Loncar, a Wayne native who graduated from Temple University in 2019, was shot just before 7 p.m. Wednesday on Jefferson Street near 31st, according to police.
He had been approached by two men, one of whom pointed a gun at him, and then both started reaching toward his pants pockets before Loncar was shot once in the chest, police said.
He was still clutching his dog’s leash when officers found his body.
About an hour and a half later, Highway Patrol Officers stopped a car at B Street and Indiana Avenue in Kensington in connection with a carjacking from the day before.
Four men fled the vehicle, but officers captured the driver. The driver was later identified through surveillance video as Josephus, who lives just two streets away from Loncar on the 1400 block of North Hollywood Street.
Josephus was charged with murder and related offenses. A second man, described as a person of interest, has also been identified in the killing, police said.
District Attorney Larry Krasner issued a statement Sunday night, saying his office opposed the bail reductions before the judges, yet the bail was cut “over our objections.”
His spokesperson, Jane Roh, in a separate interview, said she could not immediately say whether the office took the step of appealing the bail reductions to Common Pleas Court. The court record does not reflect any such appeals.
The charges are only the most recent accusation against Josephus, who before last week had been arrested five times since January 2019.
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Police arrested Josephus on Feb. 19 of last year, on charges of kidnapping for ransom, robbery, car theft, firearms violations and other charges — 11 counts in all — from a case the previous July.
Few details of the alleged offense were immediately available, but Roh said the victim was an Uber driver. Bail of $100,000 was set the day after his arrest, court records show.
Josephus did not post bail and remained behind bars for most of 2020.
Court action on his case was repeatedly delayed due to pandemic-related courthouse closures, but also because authorities weren’t ready to proceed, records show. In one instance, a witness was not in court; in another, officials failed to bring Josephus to court from jail.
In response to a motion from Josephus’ court-appointed defense lawyer, identified in records as James Richard Lloyd III, Senior Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni lowered his bail to $20,000. She did so after the eighth time authorities scheduled and then failed to hold a preliminary hearing in his case.
Josephus posted the required 10% of that sum — $2,000 — bail on Dec. 29, two weeks before the Jan. 13 slaying.
Meanwhile, while still in jail, Josephus was charged in September with aggravated assault and with aggravated harassment, with his bail set at $200,000, records show. Roh said he had attacked and threatened a prison guard.
Municipal Court Judge Charles Hayden granted a motion from Josephus’ lawyer in that case, an unidentified lawyer with the Defender Association of Philadelphia, to reduce his bail on those charges to $12,000.
Josephus also posted 10% of that sum — $1,200 — on Dec. 29.
Before those arrests, Josephus had been charged with committing two robberies in 2019 — one on Jan. 9 of that year, another on Oct. 1, court records show.
The details of the cases were not immediately available on Sunday night, but records show he pleaded guilty to both cases on Jan. 29, 2020, receiving a sentence of six to 12 months in jail, plus two years of probation.