Inmate sentenced in 2013 James Island murder dies in prison

Inmate sentenced in 2013 James Island murder dies in prison
Kronsberg was visibly emotional at his sentencing. (Source: Live 5)
Kronsberg was visibly emotional at his sentencing. (Source: Live 5)
Tasha Lucia (Source: File)
Tasha Lucia (Source: File)

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - The man sentenced to life for a 2013 stabbing died in prison, the state's corrections department confirmed.

Robert Kronsberg died at the Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia on Dec. 6, South Carolina Department of Corrections spokesman Jeffrey Taillon confirmed.

Kronsberg was 35 years old. Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says foul play was not suspected in Kronsberg's death.

Kronsberg was 30 years old when he was convicted in December 2014 for the fatal stabbing of his then-girlfriend, 25-year-old Tasha Lucia.

Detectives testified Lucia had been stabbed 15 times and said Kronsberg admitted to the killing on three separate occasions.

Friends found Lucia stabbed to death inside her home along Encampment Court on James Island on Feb. 10, 2013. According to court papers, Lucia had also been hit with a hammer. Charleston Police said Kronsberg was also at the house passed out with cuts on his wrists. Authorities say Kronsberg admitted to taking cocaine, and was then taken to the hospital to be treated.

During the murder trial, a witness, a former co-worker of Kronsberg, testified that on the night of the killing, Kronsberg texted him that he had killed his girlfriend. The co-worker said he first thought it was a joke, but then urged Kronsberg to call police.

Investigators also played an audio tape of him confessing to the murder from the hospital where he was being treated. In the recording, Kronsberg was heard saying that he grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed Lucia and tried to kill himself. Detectives testified Kronsberg said he bought a bottle of sleeping pills and ate all of them; he is also heard saying in the confession audio tape that he had slashed his left wrist, took aspirin, sleeping pills and alcohol.

A jury convicted Kronsberg of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Tension was high and emotions were flaring inside the courtroom during the Dec. 4, 2014, sentencing hearing. As Judge Roger Young delivered the sentence, Kronsberg began cursing and was dragged out of the courtroom by law enforcement agents.

His defense lawyers had asked the judge for a sentence of 35 years, plus five years parole. They cited that this was Kronsberg's first felony. His family told the court he was a troubled man struggling with substance abuse that "robbed him of his childhood, his opportunity, his daughter, his loved ones and now his freedom."

Throughout the case, the prosecution and Lucia's family accused Kronsberg of showing no remorse for the murder.

But moments before the judge's sentencing, Kronsberg chose to speak. While sobbing, he looked directly to Lucia's mother.

"I'm so sorry that I took her away from you," he said.

Judge Young said this could have been a spontaneous, crime of passion, like the defense claimed, except for one thing.

"You thought she was dead, and walked away from her. Heard that she was still alive and went back to finish her off," Young said. "He went back and stabbed her and he didn't just stab her once, he stabbed her 11 times.

Kronsberg was sentenced to life without parole for Lucia's murder.

According to his obituary, the funeral will be private, but the family suggested that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Lowcountry Food Bank, 2864 Azalea Drive, N. Charleston, SC 29405.

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