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Murder on Penn Street – A True Story

It’s not every day that you see someone murdered.

Some people would say what’s the big deal, murder isn’t unusual in Frankford and that is true.  It has become true for a lot of cities. But this one was different for me.

It was a cold, Winter night, Saturday, February 20, 2016, almost Midnight and I was thinking about going up to bed. I was just watching TV. We had some unusual windows in our old house.   They were 8 feet tall, right down to the floor so if they were open in 1890 when the house was built you would be able to step right out onto the porch.  Somebody got creative in the 50s and filled in the bottom four feet with glass blocks.  It looks kind of funny from outside but lets in lots of light and you can see every shadow that passed by on the sidewalk out front, if you were looking that way.

I was sitting on the sofa that night, windows to my left and noticed a flash of light go by so I put the video camera system up on the TV.  A minute later I saw two unformed cops come up the street with flashlights looking for something and then they came up on the porch and knocked on the front door.  I asked them what was up, and they said they noticed I had some security cameras out on the porch.  They wanted to know if they worked.

I took some pride in my cameras that I had tediously installed myself two years earlier.  I always thought having them was a deterrent to crime. I told the cops they did work, and they asked if they could come in and see if they captured anything of interest.  So, they came in and I sat on the sofa and brought up the past hour on the system.   They stood and watched.

They were not sure what they were looking for, so I just started looking at the recent footage from out front.  The video played and, in a few minutes, at time stamp 12:36 PM, we found 2 people, who looked like a guy and girl, walking up the 4800 block of Penn Street and they passed our house.  They moved to the property next door, which is a garage with a driveway along the side.  The girl stopped at the edge of the driveway and walked over to the curb and looked back down Penn Street.  She opened up the hoody she was wearing and then they turned to continue walking up Penn Street.  They were about 25 feet away when the guy reached into his pocket and then lunged at the girl. She took off, running toward Harrison Street and then turned and ran toward Frankford Avenue.  He went after her and then quickly turned around and ran back towards Oxford Avenue and out of sight.

The cops said that was it and one of them went outside.  The other said that they had tracked a blood trail from Harrison and Griscom streets up Harrison Street to the spot where the vicious stabbing had taken place.  The girl was over at Aria Frankford hospital.  While we waited, a call came over the radio and announced that the female victim was actually a male.

While we were talking, there came a knock on the door, and it was Captain McCloskey along with the first cop. McCloskey was the 15th District Commander and I had encountered him at a few community meetings since he had taken over the district a few months earlier.  He had a reputation as a Commander who was always out on the street where the action was.  On this night, it proved to be true.  He asked to see the video.  While we watched the video, another transmission over the radio announced that the victim had died.

By then it was midnight and the captain said that they would want to use the video as evidence and so they took all my information and asked that I not do anything to the system, and somebody would contact me about it.

After they left, I sat down and watched the TV for a half hour to calm down.  I had witnessed a murder, only feet from my front door. Even though it was not in real time.  It was sad and tragic to see how death came to the victim so fast and unexpected.  Then I turned off the TV and the lights and went up to bed.

Headline from the Philadelphia Daily News 22 February 2016 from


On Monday morning, the story was in the Inquirer and Daily News, and I learned that the victim had been Norman Lindsey Jr. aka Maya Young.  I had heard that there was an active group of trans women who could be found on Frankford Avenue.  Norman/Maya had a previous arrest for prostitution.  No motive for the murder was mentioned in the news stories.

I waited to hear from the police about the video.  It wasn’t until Tuesday that I saw two men walk up Penn Street and stop outside.  They had the look of Philly Police detectives. They didn’t come up on the porch though, they walked the neighborhood, following the path that the victim had taken.

15 minutes later there was a knock on the door, and I let them in. They sat down and asked some questions and watched the video.  They mentioned that there was also video from the Sugar and Spice store at Frankford and Foulkrod Streets.   The videos helped establish the movements of the couple.  I knew Sam, the owner of Sugar and Spice, and had been in his office.  He had a video system as good as any that was available.  If they were on his video, they murderer was going to be identified.

At some point, a police technician showed up and documented the accuracy of the time stamp on my video and then made a copy to take with him.  There was a legal form for me to sign so that that would let me avoid having to appear in person in court at the trial.  I never heard from the police again.

On March 1st. Tiffany Floyd, 24, of the 4300 block of Cloud Street was arrested.  Floyd had prostitution arrests going back to 2013.  On March 2nd, Jose Pena, 19 years old, of the 900 block of Pratt Street was arrested. He was already a suspect in a previous homicide that took place in April of 2015.  He had no previous arrests. Both were charged with conspiracy and murder.  The motive reported by the newspapers was pure craziness, jealousy, voodoo and spells.  It made no sense at all, as if any murder really makes sense.

Pena had confessed to being the one who stabbed Norman/Mya.  He claimed he was urged to do it by Floyd.

The wheels of justice move slowly but finally on August 22, 2017, Pena pled guilty to Murder of The Third Degree, Conspiracy – Murder of The Third Degree, and Possession Instrument of Crime W/Int and was sentenced to 20 to 40 years and is now at the State Correctional Institution in Huntington.

Floyd also pled guilty to Murder of The Third Degree, Conspiracy – Murder of The Third Degree, and Possession Instrument of Crime W/Int and was sentenced on November 8, 2017 to 8 to 20 years confinement and 10 years’ probation and is now serving her sentence at the State Correctional Institution at Cambridge Springs.

One afternoon in the Fall, I was working outside the house, within sight of where Norman/Mya was stabbed, and a school bus came up the street and parked on the other side.  The driver got out and came over and asked me if I was Mr. Smiley.  I said yes and she said she was Norman’s sister.  She thanked me for helping with the case.  I told her I was sorry for her loss. We chatted for a minute and then she had to get on with her route and boarded her buss and drove off down Penn Street.

It was nice to know that the family appreciated that I helped in some way. I don’t think that my video was the thing that helped solve the case, the cops did that.  But it did make a difference by showing the actual crime.  I didn’t put those cameras up to witness a crime though, I hoped that by being there, they would prevent crime.

I guess if someone has decided to kill, they will find a way but to this day, I still wonder why anybody had to die.

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Thank You For Your Support!

Pat Smiley and I thank you for your support of our Memorial Day fundraiser and efforts to promote his and Richard Johnson’s book, “Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition”! If you’ve been busy or just didn’t quite get to ordering their book, you can still do so and we will still honor our pledge of 20% of book sales to be split between St. Mark’s Church and the Catholic Daughters’ Matthew 25 Food Cupboard. You will still get the ebook edition, too, for free. This effort will officially end on Friday, June 5. Here’s the link for you to use –

We have mailed the books to those who ordered and have mailed the donations to St. Mark’s Church and Court St. Francis de Sales #2617 CDA. Every little bit helps!!!

For all of you who have purchased the book since it was available last fall, please check your email as Bob Smiley has emailed you a link to the ebook. Please check your email and let us know if you did not receive one and had purchased a book. We do our utmost to insure our records are accurate but… We hope you enjoy this ebook version, too. If you would like to share your comments about the book and allow us to use them as testimonials, please email

We would appreciate hearing what you think of the book!! Thank you again for your purchase and we look forward to sharing more publications with you that pique your interest. Stay well!





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Our “Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition” Honor Roll!

This Memorial Day, May 25, 2020, we wanted to let the “Frankford Heroes” tell you their stories themselves. It’s true that Bob put their stories into the 2nd Edition of his and Richard Johnson’s book, but he is simply retelling the stories of the lives they lived and the sacrifices they have made so that they are always remembered!

At the end of this post, there is a a list of all those who are featured in this latest edition of “Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition”. And here are some of their stories. Remember, through Tuesday evening, May 26, if you purchase a copy of Bob and Richard’s book ($14.95) through our website, we will donate 20% of the list price to be shared between St. Mark’s Church in Frankford and the CDA Court St. Francis De Sales #2617 Matthew 25 Food Cupboard at St. Mark’s. Also, by buying this print edition, we will give you the ebook free. The ebook has additional information and links and has just been finished. Nothing is ever as easy as it may seem. (So, if you bought the book previously, we will be emailing you the pdf asap. Thank you for your patience.) We accept PayPal, Credit or Debit Cards or you can mail us a check. You’ll find all the details at this link:

“Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition” contains the stories of almost 190 Veterans from Frankford. Frankford was a small town before it incorporated with Philadelphia and patriotism and a sense of history continue to be a large part of our traditions. 147 of these stories are those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for our freedom. The rest of the stories are those who served proudly and most, if not all, still call Frankford their home. To all our Veterans, past and present, thank you! We thank also, all the men and women of our Armed Forces currently serving so proudly and in unexpected ways. Many have been a real support to areas of the country struggling with coronavirus. We salute you and ask God to bless you abundantly!!

I chose a story from Bob’s book that I wanted to share with you. The first is about a young man named Stephen Blanchett. “Stephen Paul Blanchett was born on October 20, 1947 and lived on Foulkrod Street in Frankford.  He enlisted in the Army early in 1965 and served as a corpsman. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously: ‘He distinguished himself by exceptional valor while serving as Medical Specialist for his unit when it came under heavy small arms fire in rice paddies northwest of Dong Tam, Vietnam, on March 7, 1967. As the unit was maneuvering slowly through several rice paddies, they came under enemy sniper fire. Immediately, one of the unit’s leaders was hit and severely wounded. Private Blanchett, 350 meters to the rear, was notified, and began racing through the paddies in order to reach the wounded man. When he had come to within 50 meters of the casualty, he was urged by fellow comrades to go no further, due to the increasing amount of hostile fire. He courageously disregarded the warning and with fire all about him, ran to the side of the wounded man. He then pulled the wounded man behind the safety of a dike separating two paddies and administered vitally needed first aid. This courageous act was one of many times he unhesitatingly risked his life in behalf of his fellow soldiers.’” Paul was 19 years old – 19!!! There have been so many just like him – good men of valor, courage and a strong sense of duty and caring for their fellow man!

“Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition” – Let’s take a look and see if you are familiar with any of the names! These are our honored Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives for our freedoms during the following wars! There are two pages of names and there are two arrows at the bottom of the document to let you move between the pages. Remember our special offer ends Tuesday evening, May 26 at 11:59 PM!

FH Alphabetical LIsting



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“River Never Smooth”!

We all believe in love! There’s all kinds of love – love for our family members, love for friends, even degrees of love. We look for a soul-mate; we label people as acquaintances, good friends, best friends and the ever popular, bff! We need love; we won’t thrive without it. When I was 5 years old, I was a flower girl for my Aunt Cass’s wedding. As I knelt in the first pew of the Church, I thought she would go to a Castle and we would never see her again. Her life would be a fairytale. I can tell you it was not as she lost her husband while she was pregnant with their third child.

Some very hurtful and even deadly things happen in the course of love. It’s the latter we’re going to talk about. This is not your typical Christmas feel-good-story but we need to be aware that people we know and even those we think we know may be experiencing physical, emotional and other types of abuse all in the name of love!

Fiona Harewood

Fiona Harewood can tell you about this – she has been there herself. Putting her experiences and her efforts towards regaining her own personal power and self, she has written a new book to help others. Her story is so compelling and important, we, at The Frankford Gazette are helping her to pre-launch her book, “River Never Smooth  – Reclaiming Power After Abuse”. 

A current resident of Juniata, Fiona also is a member of a local Church here in Frankford. She comes to us from the country of Guyana, officially a “Co-operative Republic”, located on the northern part of South America. The northern border of Guyana is the Atlantic Ocean. Guyana is the only country in South America where English is the official language. She would also live for a time in Barbados until 2001 when she came to the United States.

This is not her first book. She also wrote, “I DID IT…You Can, Too”, and in it, Fiona challenges “drop outs to become dreamers”. She knows what she’s talking about – she was a failure during High School, completing only one CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) in English Literature. Once she arrived in the United States and had to clean homes to make ends meet, she knew her way forward would be to finish her education. At 44, she returned to school and after 3 1/2 years, graduated magna cum laude with a degree from Pierce in Paralegal Studies. Another 18 months and Fiona completed the work necessary to receive a Masters in Public Policy from Drexel University. Kudos to you, Fiona. Her education would serve her well. She then wanted to encourage others who, for one reason or another, did not complete their education. Also, she wanted to encourage those students already in school to stay there. She has spoken at schools and other organizations sharing the wisdom that she has earned and learned.

Which brings us to her newest book about to be released. In “River Never Smooth – Reclaiming Power After Abuse”, Fiona is once again sharing her own personal story that is also a national issue affecting millions. In speaking with Fiona, she shared with me the following facts. Did you know that nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in just one single year? Or that more than 12 million men, women and children are affected by varying forms of abuse over a year? Abuse has many types, not just physical. There is emotional, mental, sexual and financial abuse just to name a few. Also, we know that there is not just one type of abuser or one gender alone responsible for such violence.

In her book, Fiona uses her storytelling abilities to illustrate for us what abuse can look like and why some people don’t even feel they’re being abused. In telling her story, Fiona has structured “River Never Smooth” into 4 parts.

Part 1 is “Bad Choices” that many of us make. We have family and friends who try to tell us but do we at least consider what they have to say? This is so important for our teenagers and young adults who need to understand that people who try to point them in the right direction care and are only trying to help. It is very important to listen and learn from other people’s experience as opposed to living their tragic circumstances. We must be ready to accept that this is an abusive relationship and be ready to change it. This can take a long time.

Part 2 tells us about “Starting Over” and this is where friends and families can help victims of domestic violence and abuse. You can’t do this alone. Sometimes, it requires much more than empathy. If we truly want to help someone “escape” their situation, we need to be ready to help them financially, and otherwise, until they can get back on their feet. We know that, especially in the case of women, the choice is to stay with an abuser because of financial needs.

Part 3 explains to us that “Repeating Mistakes” is something that will happen. It takes time, practice and real awareness to choose those who are worthy of your trust and your love. Once you’ve been hurt, literally, it will be a while before you will see as clearly as you need to in choosing friends or partners.

Part 4 leads us to “The Decision and Getting It Right”. Hopefully, you will be stronger by the time you get there and experiencing a sense of power. No matter how many times we have failed or given love to people who will end up hurting us, there is one who truly does loves us unconditionally and that is God. You have got to rely on God’s help for strength, for the commitment you need not to be drawn into what is almost a second nature – putting others first. This is about you and what is best for you!  Surprising as it may seem, you must also forgive your abuser before you can fully heal. Overall, after reading “River Never Smooth”, you will:

  • Identify abuse and know how to deal with it;
  • Know when to move on;
  • Live a life free of regrets; and
  • Rise above your circumstances and emerge an overcomer.


In conversations with her Mother, Fiona shared with me that her Mother once told her, “Your life reminds me of a river – a river never smooth”. Fiona credits her mother with naming the book. For some people, that’s so true. But, like Fiona, we can take that “never smooth river” and redirect it for our own good and to help others traveling that same river.

I feel that Fiona and her story is a very, very powerful one that needs to be told and heard. Look below for an upcoming Global Launch Party on January 26, 2020. You can register for this Launch experience at this link –

Dating Abuse Statistics., Accessed October 13, 2019. National Domestic Violence Hotline. Get the Facts & Figures. resources/statistics/, Accessed October 13, 2019.