SAN BERNARDINO – Jurors convicted a woman connected to the 2005 murder death of a 90-year-old woman in a home invasion robbery.
Kiesha Smith, of San Bernardino, joined Michael Mitchell, who was found guilty on April 4, as responsible for the killing of Josephine Kelley in Sept. 15, 2005. Both were tried together, but each had separate juries for a trial that started in February.
They were arrested in April 2013.
Investigators pored through several leads and connections before arresting both Smith and Mitchell for the killing of Kelley, who was smothered with a pillow case. A third defendant, Sherry Beck, took a plea bargain last year in exchange for her testimony during the trial of Smith and Mitchell.
Evidence during the trial is that Smith put a pillow case over Kelley’s head, assisted in tying her down while Mitchell hit the victim. Kelley, whose death was ruled by being smothered, died in her home on the 2800 block of Muscupiabe Dr., an older section of the city in north San Bernardino.
She was discovered with a TV chord and masking tape binding her hands.
Early investigation into the crime focused on Kelley’s grandson, Derrick Hassett, one of four people that lived at the residence.
A tip led police to the trio of suspects. Beck told investigators that she targeted Kelley’s home because of a bad drug deal that involved Hassett. Investigators originally that Hassett was connected to his grandmother’s death.
It was Beck that initially alerted police on Smith and Mitchell.
Once police became aware of Smith, Mitchell and Beck, they discovered evidence, including stolen property – a safe, coins and jewelry – from Kelley’s home, at the Rialto house that Mitchell and Smith were staying.
Hassett, according to testimony, was lured away from the Muscupiabe home on the night of the crime, which led to Kelley being home alone. Kelley’s body was discovered by her daughter, Susan Hassett.
Mitchell will be sentenced on May 2, Beck on May 6, while Smith is scheduled to face sentencing on May 12, both in San Bernardino Superior Court. Beck has agreed to serve 17 years in state prison.
Contra Costa Times: Man, two women arrested in 2005 killing