By J. Coyden Palmer, Chicago Crusader
The murder of Cook County Judge Raymond Myles took a turn Wednesday, April 12 when Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that 37-year-old Joshua Smith has been charged with one count of first-degree murder.
Guglielmi also disclosed that a suspected getaway car had been recovered and that another person of interest was being questioned. The 2005 red Pontiac Surefire was captured on video surveillance at the murder scene, Guglielmi said. One of the lead detectives on the case told the Crusader while one of the license plates on the car was changed, another one was not, which led them to the suspect.
Meanwhile, the West Chesterfield neighborhood mourns as questions remain about a murder that left residents stunned and confused.
Myles was gunned down outside his home in the 9400 block of South Forest in the early morning hours of April 10. His 52-year-old girlfriend was also shot in the leg during the incident. She has identified Smith as a suspect, according to police.
Police and the FBI are investigating whether the judge was targeted, or was the victim of a random crime.
“It’s a very fresh investigation. We’re investigating a multitude of possible leads,” said CPD Chief of Detectives Melissa Staples. “The motive of this crime is robbery, which we do not believe is random, nor do we believe he acted alone.”
Myles and his girlfriend were attacked around 4:50 a.m. as they were preparing to go work out. Neighbors say it was a routine the judge and his companion followed on a regular basis. Recently Judge Myles encouraged residents on his block to have security cameras installed. Police say doing so sped up their investigation. Now Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) wants more citizens to follow suit.
“The cameras help in that they help the police identify suspects quicker,” Beale said. “The placement of the cameras helped the police in this case. I encourage all those who can afford to do so to install cameras.”
Smith served six years in prison after being convicted on armed robbery charges in 2003. He has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and obstruction. He is set to appear in bond court April 13.
Judge Myles was on the bench when he denied bond for William Balfour, the man convicted of slaughtering three members of actress Jennifer Hudson’s family. He also presided over pre-trial hearings in the Brown’s Chicken murders.
Myles was attacked in 2015 after the driver of a car hit the judge’s car and then allegedly punched Myles in the face when he began taking photos. Police say Myles also has received threats lately, which they are also investigating.
A small cross was erected in the front yard outside the Judge’s home on Wednesday, in remembrance of the man who served 20 years on the bench in Cook County. His colleagues say he was a fair man who did not deserve to die the way he did.
Funeral services were pending at the Crusader press time. The FBI has issued a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of all those responsible for Myles’ death.