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Robber Cased Slain Judge's Home For Weeks, Prosecutors Say

By Erica Demarest | April 13, 2017 12:10pm | Updated on April 14, 2017 10:35am
 Joshua Smith (left) is charged in the murder of Judge Raymond Myles
Joshua Smith (left) is charged in the murder of Judge Raymond Myles
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Chicago Police Department; Chief Judge's Office

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The man believed to be the getaway driver in the early-morning murder of Cook County Judge Raymond Myles was denied bail Thursday.

According to police, Myles was shot dead in a botched robbery outside his Roseland home about 4:50 a.m. Monday. A 52-year-old female companion was also shot and wounded, but survived.

RELATED: 'Phenomenal' Judge Killed Outside His Home In Possible Botched Robbery

During a bond hearing Thursday, prosecutors laid out the case against 37-year-old Joshua Smith, who authorities have pegged as the getaway driver of a burnt-orange Pontiac Sunfire.

Smith and his accomplice approached Judge Myles' house in the 9400 block of South Forest Avenue on Monday hoping to rob the 52-year-old woman, who left for the gym the same time every day, Assistant State's Attorney Guy Lisuzzo said during a bond hearing Thursday.

According to prosecutors, Smith told authorities his accomplice spent two or three weeks watching the woman before confronting her.

As the woman left Myles' home Monday morning, Smith's accomplice grabbed her gym bag and shot her in her leg, Lisuzzo said. Myles came outside to see what was happening, and the accomplice shot him multiple times, prosecutors said — fatally striking Myles in his shoulder, hip and thighs.

The accomplice then got in the Pontiac, and Smith drove away, Lisuzzo said.

As the men got away, the accomplice rummaged through the woman's gym bag and became enraged when he didn't find any money, prosecutors said. The man allegedly tossed the bag from a car window into a garbage container. Police did not recover the bag.

The Pontiac belonged to Smith's ex-girlfriend, according to prosecutors. He is accused of telling the girlfriend and her daughter to lie and pretend the car was stolen.

Using surveillance footage, police were able to track down the car Tuesday night, officials said.

After his arrest, Smith admitted to planning the robbery because he and his accomplice thought the woman would be carrying money, prosecutors said.

Smith also confessed to being the getaway driver and to hearing several shots fired after his accomplice approached their target Monday morning, according to Lisuzzo.

Smith is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery and aggravated battery with a firearm. He was convicted of armed robbery in 2003 and sentenced to six years in prison.

DuPage County Judge Robert Miller, who was brought in to oversee Smith's bond hearing Thursday, called Smith "a real and present threat" before denying the man bail.

Assistant Public Defender Kristina Yi asked for a more lenient bond, arguing that Smith wasn't the shooter in Monday's attack.

Yi said Smith is the co-owner of a car audio and alarm business and sole provider for two of his children, teenagers who live with him.

At a news conference Wednesday evening, Chief of Detectives Melissa Staples called the attack "a targeted robbery."

She said the semi-automatic handgun used to kill Myles and injure his companion was also used in a January robbery.

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

Smith had no known gang ties, police said.

"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 Wednesday. "This incident took from us a valuable partner in the fight to take violent offenders off the streets."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel called Myles "a distinguished public servant and pillar of the community," adding that the judge was "a well-respected and long-serving jurist, and we mourn his tragic loss."

Myles 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.