Josephus Davis, 20, (pictured) was arrested over the killing of Milan Loncar on Wednesday
A man accused of killing a dog walker was released on bail just two weeks before the slaying after his kidnapping trial was delayed eight times.
The delays that led a judge to lower Davis L Josephus’s bail have been blamed on a combination of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic and prosecution blunders.
Josephus, 20, was arrested over the killing of 25-year-old Milan Loncar who was shot on Wednesday night while walking his dog about a block from his Breweryton, Philadelphia home.
Josephus posted $20,000 bail on December 29 on charges of motor theft and kidnapping, and $12,000 on charges including aggravated assault on a prison guard, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The figures had been dramatically reduced from the original sums of $100,000 and $200,000 respectively, the paper said.
Loncar was shot dead just before 7pm local time on Wednesday after being approached by two men.
Police said one of the men pointed a gun at Loncar then both reached for his pants pockets before he was shot once in the chest. Surveillance footage captured the deadly encounter.
Loncar was reportedly still holding the leash of his dachshund-chihuahua mix dog named Roo when officers found his body.
Later that evening, officers apprehended the driver of a vehicle stopped in connection with a carjacking from the day before.
Four other men fled the vehicle and the captured driver was later identified as Josephus, who lives just two streets away from Loncar.
He was charged with murder and related offenses, according to The Inquirer. Police said a second man has been identified in the killing and is considered a person of interest.
Milan Loncar was walking his dachshund-chihuahua mix dog named Roo on Wednesday at about 7pm when he was shot dead just one block from his home in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia. He is pictured with his girlfriend Olivia Gorski
District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement on Sunday night that his office had opposed the reductions in Josephus’ bail before the judges but that the sums had been slashed ‘over our objections’.
In a separate interview, Krasner’s spokesperson Jane Roh said she could not say whether the office appealed the bail reductions but the court record from the Common Pleas Court does not show any such appeals, according to The Inquirer.
Josephus has a long wrap sheet, having been arrested five times since January 2019, prior to the most recent accusations.
In February 2020 he was arrested on 11 counts including charges of kidnapping for ransom, robbery, car theft, firearms violations and other charges relating to a case from the previous summer.
Milan Loncar was a 25-year-old Temple University graduate
Roh said the victim in the alleged offense was an Uber driver and court records show that bail of $100,000 had been set the day after Josephus’ arrest.
He did not post bail and remained behind bars for most of 2020.
Pandemic-related courthouse closures caused repeated delays to Josephus’ case but, according to The Inquirer, records also show that authorities were not ready to proceed.
The paper reported that on one occasion a witness was not in court while on another, officials did not bring Josephus to court from jail.
Judge Teresa Carr Deni lowered Josephus’ bail to $20,000 following a motion from his court-appointed defense lawyer James Richard Llyod III.
The reduction came after the eighth time authorities scheduled a preliminary hearing in his case only for it to not take place.
Josephus posted $2,000 – the required 10% of his bail – on December 29, two weeks before Loncar’s January 13 killing.
While still in jail in September last year, Josephus was charged aggravated harassment and had his bail set at $200,000. Roh said he had attacked and threatened a prison guard.
Police took two men into custody on Saturday in connection with the murder
A motion from the unidentified Defender Association of Philadelphia lawyer in that case was granted by Municipal Court Judge Charles Hayden and Josephus’ bail was reduced to $12,000.
On December 29, he posted the required 10% of that sum.
Prior to those arrests, Josephus had been charged with committing two robberies in 2019, court records show.
He pleaded guilty to both charges in January 2020 and received a six-12-month jail sentence plus two years probation.
As of Monday, Loncar’s family had raised more than $57,600 on GoFundMe offering a reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the suspects.
Loncar’s mother told WPVI-TV that she was ‘shaking’ when she heard the news that two men had been detained.
It came after his girlfriend called him her ‘soulmate’ as she broke down in tears during his vigil on Friday night.
Family and friends gathered at the site where Loncar was killed, illuminating a portrait of him with the light of their cellphones, while also playing music and singing for him.
‘He was my soulmate, and I don’t think I have a plan anymore without him,’ Loncar’s girlfriend, Olivia Gorski, said at his vigil, fighting tears while being comforted by his mother, Amy Lounsberry.
Gorski had been planning to move in with Loncar next month.
Olivia Gorski called her slain boyfriend, Milan Loncar, 25, her ‘soulmate.’ He was fatally shot Wednesday night while walking his dog a block from his home
Gorski (far right) is pictured at Loncar’s vigil Friday night, alongside his sister, Jelena Loncar, 27 (left) and mother, Amy Lounsberry (center). Jelena is holding Loncar’s dog, Roo
The vigil was held at the spot where Loncar was fatally shot. Friends and family gathered to light up his portrait with their cell phones and sing songs in his memory (pictured)
While speaking with 6ABC, Lounsberry, said of her son and Gorski, ‘We might’ve had a wedding.’
‘There would have been a wedding,’ Gorski replied, definitively.
Loncar’s sister, Jelena Loncar, 27, said of the man who shot her brother, ‘You’ve taken so much from us, you’ve hurt the neighborhood. It’s not just one life.’
‘You’ve ruined hundreds of lives that you don’t even know,’ Gorski added.
Loncar had graduated from Temple in 2019 after majoring in engineering and had been working for a construction management company for about a year.
Amy Lounsberry shared this picture of herself with her son Milan Loncar and her daughter Jelena Loncar
Lounsberry told the Philadelphia Inquirer ‘everything was coming together’ for ‘a beloved sweet boy just starting his life’.
Police released the surveillance video from Wednesday night’s incident in an attempt to help identify the suspects.
The video shows two suspects walking down the sidewalk then splitting up to corral Loncar as they approach him, stopping him in his tracks.
One of the suspects can be seen pulling out what appears to be a gun and holding it at chest level to stop Loncar. The suspect then seems to reach for Loncar’s pockets.
Police said that a shot was then fired and that the suspects ran from the scene.
Loncar’s mother shared that she would be holding a memorial on Friday, writing: ‘I want to stand tonight where my son fell and I’m hoping some of you will stand with me in remembrance’
Milan Loncar, 25, was walking his dachshund-Chihuahua mix dog on Wednesday at about 7pm when he was shot dead
Lounsberry has shared a series of heartbreaking posts and spoken about his life in interviews with local news outlets.
‘He is so missed and we are trying to pull together and get everybody through,’ she told 6 ABC. ‘He was going to move in with his girlfriend in March, he had graduated and had his first job and was just starting out.
‘I don’t know why they did it, I can’t understand. They didn’t get any money, did they need it so badly, were they trying to show off?
‘I was so proud of him and everybody that he worked with, everybody he knew, they all said how he was doing so well. Everybody loved him.’
Lounsberry wrote on Facebook on Friday: ‘I want to stand tonight where my son fell and I’m hoping some of you will stand with me in remembrance. I will be at 31st and Jefferson between 6:56, the time of the shots fired radio call, to 730 when he was declared dead.’
She then thanked people for attending, writing: ‘Thank you all for coming tonight, it was so nice to have all of your support. I know we’re all shocked and hurting but we were together tonight.’
Surveillance video caught the moment when Milan Locar, 25, was stopped by two men who rifled through his pockets and then shot him in the chest
Police released surveillance images of the suspects as they ran from the shooting scene
The shooting suspects are seen here as they walk down the street together (left), before separating briefly to surround Loncar (right) as he walks his dog
Police said that Loncar used his cell phone to call for help after he was shot and was found in the street injured, while still holding the dog’s leash, CBS Philadelphia reported.
Loncar was declared dead at the hospital at about 7.30pm.
Police believe that Loncar was killed in an attempted robbery.
Family members told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Loncar’s house keys and cell phone were found at the scene. He didn’t have his wallet on him – he’d left it at home.
Loncar’s sister Jelena Loncar, 27, lives near her brother. She said she first learned about the shooting through an alert on the Citizen App as she was driving home from dinner with her mother.
At the time, she wasn’t aware of who had been shot.
Lounsberry has shared a series of heartbreaking posts and spoken about his life in interviews with local news outlets
Loncar’s sister, Jelena Loncar (pictured), said that he was the ‘kindest person in the entire world’
Jelena (left with Loncar) said that she heard about a shooting through a neighborhood app and called her brother, but he didn’t answer, leaving her to fear the worst
She said that she called Loncar, who didn’t answer his phone, leading her to fear the worst, she told CBS Philadelphia.
Jelena’s roommate, Arshiya Luthra, 26, then went to the scene, described Loncar and then realized he had been the person who had been shot when police brought her Loncar’s dog, Luthra told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Jelena described her brother as being ‘the kindest person in the entire world’ and that he was ‘selfless, constantly smiling.’
His uncle, Nikola Loncar, 66, told the newspaper that Loncar ‘was very polite. I don’t think he would ever fight anybody.’
Loncar (pictured) was walking his dog at about 7pm that night, about a block from his home. His family said that he did not have his wallet with him at the time he was stopped
The shooting took place near this Philadelphia intersection, about a block from Loncar’s home
Police released surveillance footage showing multiple angles of the suspects approaching and stopping Loncar.
Surveillance footage also showed the suspects as they ran away.
Police are asking for the public’s help in providing details about the incident, which they are calling an apparent robbery.
Anyone with details about the shooting is asked to contact the homicide unit at 215-686-3334 or the police tip line at 215-686-TIPS (8477) or email [email protected]