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Phone Threat Leads Cops to Man Who Killed Ex-Fiancee's Mom: Prosecutors

By Quinn Ford | March 19, 2014 5:15pm | Updated on March 20, 2014 7:34am
 Frank Smith, 30, was charged with killing 46-year-old Theresa Spearman in February.
Frank Smith, 30, was charged with killing 46-year-old Theresa Spearman in February.
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Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Weeks after Frank Smith allegedly shot his ex-fiancee and killed her mother, he called his ex to tell her he was going to kill the rest of her family.

That phone call is what led to the 30-year-old man's arrest, prosecutors said in court Wednesday.

Smith, of the 5100 block of South Loomis Boulevard, appeared in bond court courtWednesday afternoon after he was charged in the attempted murder of his ex-fiancee, Jessica Payne, and the murder of her mother, 46-year-old Theresa Spearman.

Prosecutors said Smith shot Spearman and Payne after Payne broke off their engagement on Feb. 27.

Smith, who had been living with Spearman and Payne in the 5400 block of South Laflin Street, began arguing with Payne after she returned his ring, said Assistant State's Attorney Jamie Santini.

The two argued throughout the day, Santini said, but when the fight escalated during the late-night hours, Payne's sister and Spearman brought some people to their home to intervene.

The fight soon came to blows, and when Payne's sister and Spearman tried to step in between the two, Smith pulled out a handgun and pistol-whipped Payne's sister in the head, according to prosecutors and court records. Spearman then grabbed a bottle and broke it over Smith's head, Santini said.

Smith then began shooting, Santini said. Spearman was shot in her back as she ran into a bedroom with Payne and closed the door. Smith allegedly kicked in the door and opened fire on Payne, shooting her in the chest, according to records.

Smith then turned the gun on Spearman again, shooting her in the chest before fleeing the home. Both Spearman and Payne were taken to Stroger Hospital. Spearman was pronounced dead just after midnight.

On March 16, Smith called Payne on her cell phone and threatened the rest of her family, prosecutors said.

"This defendant ... told her that he was going to kill the rest of her family so she can feel the pain he was feeling," Santini said.

Chicago police traced the phone call to Indianapolis, and Indianapolis police arrested Smith on a warrant on March 17, according to court records.

After Smith was identified by multiple witnesses as the shooter, he was charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Smith appeared in court Wednesday wearing green army pants and a gray jacket. As prosecutors spoke, Smith stretched and shook his head.

Prosecutors told Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampis that Smith had been arrested on gun charges four times, most recently in 2011. He was sentenced to jail or prison in each of those cases except his first offense, for which he received probation, prosecutors said.

Chiampis denied Smith bail and also banned him from contacting Payne or other witnesses via social media.

But Smith wasn't buying it, court records show. After he indicated that he thought he could still contact her, the judge repeated the ban and said, "Do you understand me young man?" court records show. Smith replied: "No judge."

After being told a third time by the judge, Smith finally whispered he understood.

"Damn, this is f----- up," he then said.