Man makes plea deal for killing beloved Germantown bartender

Kristen Johanson
November 27, 2019 - 3:45 pm
Robert Lumpkin

Philadelphia Police Department

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia man accused of killing a beloved Germantown bartender earlier this year has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and robbery as a part of a plea deal with prosecutors. 

Prosecutors say on March 21, 58-year-old Jeffery Johnson was closing the doors of the Delmar Lounge on Chelten Avenue — where he also lived — after last call, when 26-year-old Robert Lumpkin pulled out a gun and demanded money from the cash register.  

They say Lumpkin yelled something to Johnson, who just stood there, not saying or doing anything. Still, Lumpkin shot him once in the chest, killing him.

The entire incident was caught on surveillance video, which led police to quickly identify the suspect.

Lumpkin didn’t speak during the hearing, but his attorneys say he is remorseful and has had many struggles in his life, including the murder of his friend.

After pleading guilty to the charge, Lumpkin heard from the victim’s family and a friend, who described Johnson as a kind, smart man who loved to tinker with electronics and build robots.

Johnson’s sisters recalled when he was 16, he developed a part that is now used on SEPTA trains. They said their brother was a mentor to their own children. The adult siblings had a tough upbringing, too, with a mentally ill mother.

Judge Rose Marie Defino-Natasi called the defendant’s actions “outrageous.” She said everyone has or had struggles in their lives — including the victim — but that doesn’t give him the right to harm someone else.   

She also questioned why he would want to inflict the pain of murder onto others, adding this family is now “broken.”

“You broke everyone,” she told him.

She also told Lumpkin he made quite the deal because it appeared to be a first-degree murder case.

Lumpkin was sentenced to 27 ½ to 55 years in prison.