Two women and a man have been charged in a daylight home invasion robbery and murder of an elderly San Bernardino woman that took place more than seven years ago.
Sherry Ann Beck, 31, Kiesha Renee Smith, 28, and Michael Mitchell Jr., 28, have been charged with the killing of 90-year-old Josephine Kelley, pictured below at right.
Police said Kelly was tied up and "brutally murdered."
Mitchell and Smith allegedly entered Kelley’s San Bernardino home on Sept. 15, 2005, tied her up and physically assaulted her. The suspects then ransacked Kelly’s home and stole a large amount of property, authorities said.
Kelley’s daughter later found her mother, who had died from asphyxia by smothering, according to the coroner.
“Once again, we find ourselves confronted with the tragic details of a cold-hearted murder committed against one of our most vulnerable citizens,” San Bernardino District Attorney Michael Ramos said at a news conference Wednesday.
Police said they got a lead on what had been a cold case when they asked for the public's help solving two unrelated but similar slayings of elderly women. The suspects are not thought to be associated with the other two killings, of 86-year-old Wanda Lee Paulin in 2010 and Mary Beth Blaskey, 76, in 2012.
Kelley's son said he had begun to lose hope of having his mother's death solved, but was elated with the arrests at a news conference Wednesday.
"That's the most we can hope for -- justice and closure," Phillip Kelley said.
Mitchell and Beck were arraigned Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to all counts. Bail was set at $1,000,000 for each defendant.
Arraignment for Smith, who was already in prison on unrelated charges, was still being scheduled as of Wednesday.