2 plead in 2021 fight, slaying outside cheesesteak shop
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man and a woman have pleaded guilty in a fight and shooting death outside a well-known Philadelphia cheesesteak shop almost two years ago.
Paul Burkert, 37, of Reading pleaded guilty last week to voluntary manslaughter and a firearms charge in the July 2021 shooting death of 22-year-old David Padro Jr. outside Pat's King of Steaks.
Jamie Frick, 38, of Newmanstown pleaded guilty to simple assault and reckless endangerment in connection with the fight moments before the shooting.
Both will be sentenced in June. Other charges, including murder counts, were withdrawn by prosecutors.
Authorities said the early morning dispute, which was captured on video, began when the victim pulled into a parking spot outside the restaurant and bumped Burkert's van with his car door. Early reports had incorrectly suggested that the fight began over a football rivalry.
During the fight that followed, Frick hit Padro in the head and Burkert broke free, pulled a gun and shot Padro, authorities said. The suspects fled in the van, and Burkert surrendered to police near Independence Mall while Frick was arrested several days later, authorities said.
Burkert’s attorney, A. Charles Peruto Jr., told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he’d been prepared to take the case to trial and argue that his client was acting in self-defense, but a plea to a lesser charge was more prudent since Burkert was barred from legally possessing a firearm due to a previous drug conviction.
Frick’s attorney, Brian McMonagle, told the newspaper that she was expected to receive a sentence of probation.
The victim's father, David Padro Sr., said that the killing “took something from me that I can never get back.” “It’s just been devastating,” he said. “My whole life changed. My family’s life changed.”
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