SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – Today at a press conference held at San Bernardino Police Department, District Attorney Michael Ramos announced the filing of murder charges in connection with the murder of 90-year-old Josephine Kelley of San Bernardino. Charges were filed against Michael Mitchell Jr., 28, and Kiesha Renee Smith, 28, both of San Bernardino, and Sherry Ann Beck, 31, of Phelan.
“Once again we find ourselves confronted with the tragic details of a cold-hearted murder committed against one of our most vulnerable citizens,” District Attorney Michael Ramos said. “I can guarantee that this office will fight to see that justice is carried out for our victim and her family.”
On Sept. 15, 2005, Mitchell and Smith entered Kelley’s residence and confronted her. During the course of the robbery, they bound Kelley’s hands and feet together and physically assaulted her. A large amount of property was removed from the residence by Mitchell and Smith. The victim was later discovered deceased by her daughter. The coroner ruled Kelley’s death to be Homicidal asphyxia by smothering. During the course of the investigation, it was revealed that Smith, Mitchell and Beck were involved in the crime.
Mitchell and Smith were both arrested on Tuesday and are currently in custody at West Valley Detention Center. Smith was already in custody in prison on an unrelated charge stemming from a 2009 incident in Los Angeles County.
Mitchell and Beck were arraigned today in Department 21 of the San Bernardino Superior Court. Both defendants pleaded not guilty to all counts. Bail for each defendant was set at $1,000,000. If convicted as currently charged, each defendant faces 25 years to life in state prison. Transportation orders to have Smith arraigned on new charges are currently being processed.
This case was investigated by the San Bernardino Police Department and the investigation is ongoing. Deputy District Attorney Tristan Svare is prosecuting the case. No further information will be released at this time.