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Slaying Of Judge Raymond Myles A 'Targeted Robbery,' Police Say

By  Erica Demarest and Tanveer Ali | April 12, 2017 3:59pm | Updated on April 12, 2017 6:37pm

 Police have charged 37-year-old Joshua Smith (inset) in connection with the slaying of Cook County Judge Raymond Myles behind the judge's Roseland home early Monday.
Police have charged 37-year-old Joshua Smith (inset) in connection with the slaying of Cook County Judge Raymond Myles behind the judge's Roseland home early Monday.
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DNAinfo/Erica Demarest and Chicago Police Department

BRONZEVILLE — The slaying of Cook County Judge Raymond Myles was a "targeted robbery" that was not linked to his status as a judge, Chicago police said Wednesday.

Joshua Smith, 37, has been charged in the fatal shooting outside Myles' Roseland home early Monday. In addition to Myles, 66, a 52-year-old woman described as Myles' friend was shot. She survived.

Smith, who was convicted of armed robbery in 2003, now faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery and aggravated battery with a firearm.

At a news conference at police headquarters Wednesday evening, Chief of Detectives Melissa Staples said the crime was a "targeted robbery."

The semi-automatic handgun used to shoot Myles had been used in a January robbery, she said.

In the January robbery, Staples said, someone was shot but survived. It was not immediately clear Wednesday whether Smith was linked to that crime.

Police would not reveal whether Smith was a gunman or getaway driver, or how many suspects could be charged.

Earlier Wednesday, a source said that a warrant was issued for an alleged accomplice involved in the case.

Additional details will be revealed at Smith's bond hearing Thursday, Staples said. According to a source, officials plan to bring in a judge from outside Cook County to oversee that hearing.

"Judge Myles was a public servant who dedicated his life to holding criminals accountable for their actions and making the city he called his home a better place to live," First Deputy Supt. Kevin Navarro said. "This incident took from us a valuable partner in the fight to take violent offenders off the streets."

Smith was convicted of armed robbery in 2003 and sentenced to six years in prison. Police said he does not have any known gang ties.

Detectives said Monday they were investigating the crime as a possible botched robbery just before 5 a.m. behind Myles' two-story brick home home in the 9400 block of South Forest Avenue.

Staples said investigators were reviewing video from multiple cameras in the area, both public and private. The judge reportedly had a surveillance system watching his property.

Cameras captured images of the car used in Monday's attack, which had different front and back license plates, Staples said. Police found the car Tuesday night and released its driver, who was not believed to be linked to Myles' murder.

Police said Myles' friend left his house, which borders an alley, and encountered the gunman first. The two exchanged words, and the man shot her in her leg. The judge heard gunfire and went out to investigate, where he also exchanged words with the gunman before he was shot at least four times, police said.

The slaying happened on a large cement parking pad between the judge's home and his garage.

His friend called 911, and officers found her and Myles outside his house at 4:51 a.m.

Myles was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. His friend was taken to Christ in serious condition.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel called Myles "a distinguished public servant and pillar of the community" and said police were working to determine what led to his "senseless" killing.

"Judge Raymond Myles was a well-respected and long-serving jurist, and we mourn his tragic loss," Emanuel said.

The judge was described by those who knew him as demanding but fair. Clerks, sheriff's deputies and other court personnel said they remembered Myles as a humble and kind man who treated everyone in his courtroom equally.

The judge often insisted young men who came before him obtain high school diplomas or GEDs as part of their sentencing, defense attorney Wendelin DeRoach said Monday. Myles believed that education and job training could prevent defendants from becoming repeat offenders.