A fifth person is now charged for a burglary last fall that was one of a series of home invasions in northwest Springfield over several months. She is Jeannia Smiley-Hall of Springfield.
Police say four homes in northwest Springfield were targeted, some multiple times, and their residents ranged in age from 76 and 91. The robbers took things like jewelry, cash, electronics, and even a life insurance policy.
Investigators think Smiley-Hall participated in a burglary last Oct. 15 with her brother, Joseph Smiley of Ash Grove, who is charged for seven break-ins. In the home invasion on Oct. 15, Springfield police say, two men dressed in black and wearing masks broke into the home of a 91-year-old woman shortly after midnight. They yanked a telephone cord out of the wall and put the woman in a chair and told her not to move because they had a gun. They stole a safe containing more than $15,000 in cash, a mother's ring, a gray pearl necklace, a watch, coins, medicines and documents with financial information.
Smiley-Hall was charged on Thursday with being an accessory to first-degree burglary and accessory to first-degree robbery. A judge set her bond at $25,000. If she's convicted, she could get a life (30-year) prison sentence for robbery and a five- to 15-year sentence for burglary.
Hershel Marsh, Stephen Steele, and Larry Wilson, all of Springfield, along with Joseph Smiley, were charged for the break-ins in March. At the time, Springfield police said the group might also be connected to a string of commercial burglaries along West Kearney Street over the last year or so.
Probable cause statements show all four men are connected to two neighboring homes on North Columbia Avenue in Springfield. Investigators even used a tracking device on Joseph Smiley's vehicle to see where he went.