A man accused of killing a Brewerytown dog walker was behind bars just two weeks before the shooting, charged with a pair of violent crimes, before two judges decided to significantly reduce his bail.
The series of events has sparked questions about why Davis Josephus, who is now facing murder charges, was allowed back on the street.
Josephus, 20, was arrested in February after allegedly kidnapping and robbing an Uber driver. While in jail, he was charged with the aggravated assault of a correctional officer.
In October, Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Charles Hayden agreed to lower Josephus’ bail in the assault case from $200,000 to $12,000, and, on Dec. 23, Judge Teresa Carr Deni approved a motion reducing his bail from $100,000 to $20,000 in the kidnapping case.
Josephus was only required to post 10% of both of those amounts, and court records indicate he was released Dec. 29.
District Attorney Larry Krasner, in a statement Monday night, said prosecutors handling the matters argued that Josephus be held in jail. He said the bail adjustments were “over our objections.”
However, prosecutors did not file an appeal to either decision, DA Office spokesperson Jane Roh said Tuesday.
A call to Hayden’s chambers wasn’t returned Tuesday, and Deni could not be reached for comment.
In both cases, but particularly for the kidnapping charges, Josephus’ preliminary hearing was repeatedly delayed, and it still has not occurred.
Authorities believe Josephus and an accomplice approached 25-year-old Milan Loncar while he was walking his dog at around 7 p.m. last Wednesday near the corner of 31st and Jefferson streets.
Josephus allegedly stuck a gun in Loncar’s chest while the other suspect checked his pockets. When Loncar pulled back, Josephus pulled the trigger, according to police, and the pair fled the scene.
No attorney was listed for Josephus as of Tuesday.
Officers arrested him in hours following the shooting in Kensington after stopping a car reported stolen the day before. They were able to match his clothes to those worn by the shooter on surveillance video, investigators said.
Authorities have also identified a man considered to be a “person of interest” in the killing.
Josephus was charged Sunday with murder, conspiracy, robbery and weapons violations. He has also been charged in a second case related to the stolen car.
As is typical in a murder case, he is being held without bail.
Court records show Josephus served six months in prison after pleading guilty in January 2020 to a pair of robberies. He also received two years probation.
Several high-ranking Philadelphia police supervisors took to social media to vent about what they view as the mishandling of Josephus’s bail in the kidnapping and assault cases.
“This is ridiculous and another example of bail decisions that are being made without considering the safety of the community,” tweeted Inspector Derrick Wood, commander of the Southwest Division. “Consequences matter.”
“This chain of events ended in a horrendous outcome,” Capt. Scott Drisel said on Twitter. “We need to do something NOW to address this gun violence crisis.”
Krasner, in his statement, said the crime has had an effect on the Brewerytown neighborhood and the whole city, and he said it was “directly related” to the proliferation of guns and a lack of “reasonable regulation.”
“The Philadelphia DAO argued in two separate cases last year that Davis Josephus be held in jail, yet bail was lowered by judges over our objections,” Kranser said. “So we are clear, the District Attorney’s Office does not set bail.”
“The judiciary sets bail, after hearing arguments from the prosecution and the defense,” he continued. “We will have more to say on this matter as more information from our partners in the criminal justice system becomes available.”