Two men accused of causing a horrific accident that killed a young mother and three children were found guilty of murder by a jury this week.
On Wednesday, co-defendants Donta Craddock and Ivan Rodriguez were found guilty of four counts of murder in the second degree. The guilty verdict means Craddock, 21, and Rodriguez, 23, will face life in prison for the crimes.
LaToya Smith, 22, her daughter Remedy Smith, who was just shy of her first birthday, Remedy’s cousin, Aaliyah Griffin, 6, and a neighbor, Gina Marie Rosario, 7, were killed when a car driven by Craddock jumped the curb and smashed into the victims in June 2009. The defense attorneys for the defendants, Michael Farrell and Rania Maria Major-Trunfio, have argued that their clients are not guilty. Rodriguez was not present at the scene of the fatal crash — he had gone in another direction with an allegedly stolen motorcycle. Farrell said his client was worried about his lengthy criminal history.
Assistant District Attorney Jude Conroy said that when the defendants stole the motorcycle they set in motion a series of events that ended with four deaths.
In an unrelated criminal investigation, a Frankford woman has been arrested and accused of setting several fires in that community.
On Wednesday, Noelle Bilbrough, 36, of the 1600 block of Pratt Street in Frankford, was taken into custody around 5:15 p.m. on the 1600 block of Orthodox Street. Investigators said she has been charged with 10 counts of arson, causing a catastrophe and criminal mischief and 12 counts of reckless endangerment.
According to investigators, Bilbrough allegedly started two fires this past Sunday; one on the 1500 block of Sellers Street and another in an abandoned apartment building on the 4400 block of Paul Street. Detectives also believe she is responsible for setting fires in the 1200 block of Adams Avenue, the 4600 block of Ditman Street, the 4400 block of Griscom Street, the 1600 block of Kinsey Street, the 4200 block of Kensington Avenue and on both the 4600 and 4400 blocks of Frankford Avenue.