A Bucks County man pleaded guilty Thursday to killing his father in April and was sentenced to decades in state prison.
Jordan Kurman, 22, stabbed his father, Gregory, with a kitchen knife as he slept in the living room of the townhouse they shared in Newtown Township. Kurman’s family said during the proceeding that he struggled with mental health issues for more than a decade, and was often verbally and physically abusive to his father, a 49-year-old Philadelphia dentist who they said was his older son’s fiercest advocate.
Kurman pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and related offenses and was sentenced to 40 to 60 years in state prison. He avoided a more serious first-degree murder charge in a negotiated deal that Chief Deputy District Attorney Matthew Lannetti said was made after close consultation with Kurman’s mother, younger brother, and extended family.
Kurman said little during the hearing, his voice a soft monotone, his hair unkempt. He told Bucks County Judge Charissa Liller he was sorry for killing his father, but only after she prodded him to apologize.
And he stammered when she asked him why he committed the crime, ultimately saying he didn’t know.
Liller chastised him for, in her words, showing no remorse for a crime that she described as “beyond heinous.” She said she accepted the plea reluctantly, and only after tearful, emotional testimony from Kurman’s younger brother, Tyler.
“I hope you listened carefully to what your brother had to say, because it was heartbreaking to listen to him,” Liller said. “Your selfish behavior that day affected all these people, yet they still love you.”
Kurman’s mother, Mary, found him standing over his father just before 5 a.m. on April 29, according to the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest. Stained with his father’s blood, Kurman turned to tell his mother the stabbing was the result of “22 years of abuse” at the hands of his father, the document said.
But Lannetti, the prosecutor, said there was no evidence that Gregory Kurman had abused his son.
When Newtown Township police officers arrived at the house on the day of the murder, they found Kurman standing in the driveway of his home, wearing bloodstained clothes, the affidavit said.
Inside the home, they found a trail of blood leading into the living room, where Gregory Kurman was lying on the floor in a pool of blood, the document said.
An autopsy revealed that he had been stabbed seven times in the neck, and his carotid artery and jugular vein had been cut.
Tyler Kurman, the 19-year-old brother, told the judge “the world feels cold and empty.” He said his mother can barely function after the death of her husband, who was her childhood sweetheart, and has frequent, vivid nightmares about finding his body.
“I don’t how I can look into the eyes of the man who took my father away from me,” Tyler Kurman said. “And it wasn’t just anyone: It was my big brother, who was supposed to be my best friend.”
The younger Kurman said that for the last 12 years, he feared his older brother. He said he often watched, helpless, as he assaulted their father. He withdrew from his brother, and put a lock on his bedroom door, he said, fearing he, too, would be assaulted.
Still, he told Liller, he cares about his brother and hopes he gets the rehabilitation and treatment he needs in prison.
“When Jordan picked up that knife, he took away everything that brings joy to my life,” Kurman said. “The worst part is that I still love my brother.”