Suspect charged in robbery, shooting of Caseyville store owner

News DemocratNovember 25, 2013 

— A 28-year-old East St. Louis man accused of robbing and shooting the 63-year-old owner of a Caseyville television store Nov. 14 was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in East St. Louis.

Phillilp T. Smith was charged with one count of Hobbs Act robbery, which makes it a crime to obstruct, delay or affect interstate commerce by robbery, or to commit an act of violence against a person in furtherance of a robbery, U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton announced Monday.

Smith, a previously convicted felon, was also charged with brandishing and discharging a firearm while he was committing a federal crime and with possession of ammunition by a felon.

According to the indictment, Smith, while in Ferguson Television and Satellite shop, a business engaged in intestate commerce, pointed a handgun at Judy Ferguson, the owner and demanded money from her, and then shot her multiple times while she was giving him the money.

She remains hospitalized but is continuing to make progress, according to Caseyville Police Chief Jose Alvarez.

"We continue to pray that she will be able to return home and to the community soon. And, we thank everybody who is continuing to pray for her and her family," Alvarez said.

Caseyville police, assisted by other agencies, apprehended Smith within an hour of the robbery.

Smith faces a maximum penalty on the robbery charge of up to 20 years in prison, or a $250,000 fine and a $100 special assessment fee. He is currently being held at the St. Clair County Jail on $3 million bond.

The case was investigated by the Caseyville Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Wigginton is personally prosecuting the case along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen B. Clark.

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