ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Crying softly and dabbing away tears, Martena Jones stepped to the podium Friday.
Moments earlier, St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly stood at the same podium to announce that two counts of 1st-degree murder have now been filed against 25-year-old Yokeia Smith, Jones’ niece.
“I just want to say as a family that we will always love Yokeia,” Jones said, breaking down halfway through the sentence. “We are here for her, and we will always be here for her.”
Yokeia Jones faces a possible life prison term if convicted in the shotgun slayings Wednesday of her two children — 5-year-old son Levada Brown and 4-year-old daughter Yokela Smith.
“These children died brutal and frightened deaths,” said State’s Attorney Kelly in announcing the charges. “I don’t know what you say in the face of such evil, but what I do know is that these officers don’t get paid enough to do this.”
Yokeia Smith, who also faces two counts of armed criminal action, faces a possible life prison term if convicted in her children’s murders.
A memorial fund has been established for the family of the slain children.
Donations can be made at Associated Bank, 326 Missouri Ave., East St. Luis, Illinois.
OUR EARLIER STORY:
The East St. Louis woman who was arrested outside the KMOX building downtown Wednesday night after allegedly killing her two young children, is now charged with hitting two pedestrians in the city of St. Louis.
25-year-old Yokeia Smith is being held on $100 thousand cash only bond, on two counts each of first degree assault and armed criminal action.
Charges in the deaths of Smith’s four and five-year old children are expected to be filed by the St. Clair County State’s Attorney tomorrow.
Smith was arrested after allegedly hitting two victims with her vehicle at Memorial and Market. Witnesses say she then got out of her car armed with a shotgun, then sat down on the curb and was arrested.
The pedestrians were not seriously injured.
The St. Clair County Coroner says the two children found in Smith’s apartment were shot in the head at close range.
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