March 07, 2023
Two people pleaded guilty Monday for the deadly shooting of a Camden man outside Pat's King of Steaks in South Philadelphia, where a parking dispute turned violent two summers ago.
Paul Burkert, 37, of Reading, Berks County, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for shooting 22-year-old David Padro after midnight on July 22, 2021. Burkert also pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm. His girlfriend, Jamie Frick, 38, of Newmanstown, Lebanon County, pleaded guilty to simple assault and reckless endangerment for her role in the fight that led to the shooting.
Padro was shot around 12:45 a.m. after he and Burkert had gotten into an argument about their cars while they waited in line at the famed cheesesteak shop at Ninth Street and Passyunk Avenue. Their disagreement escalated when Padro charged at Burkert, and a portion of the fist fight was captured on video from inside the shop.
When Padro put Burkert in a headlock, Frick intervened and struck Padro in the head, enabling Burkert to break free, police said. Burkert then shot Padro in the chest.
After the shooting, Burkert and Frick fled the scene in a van and later arranged with police to turn themselves in near Independence Mall.
Burkert's attorney, Chuck Peruto, had argued that Burkert fired at Padro in self-defense because he had been beaten bloody during the initial fight. After the shooting, Burkert fled the scene with Frick out of fear that Padro's friends would harm him, Peruto said.
Burkert is not permitted to own a firearm due to a previous drug conviction. Burkert had been charged with first-degree murder. Prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to the less-serious manslaughter charge in exchange for not taking the case to trial.
The shooting was one of two deadly episodes outside Pat's King of Steaks in the summer of 2021. Less than two months after Padro was killed, a 28-year-old man died of injuries from a brawl outside the cheesesteak shop. Pat's King of Steaks owner Frank Olivieri defended his business against accusations that it had become a public menace, calling the outbreak of violence a symptom of lawlessness in Philadelphia and inadequate police presence in city neighborhoods.
Burkert and Frick are scheduled to be sentenced in June.