WASHINGTON, D.C. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne man previously convicted of taking part in a 2018 killing is now wanted by federal authorities.

Joshua Smiley

The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of Joshua Smiley. He’s a suspect in an August 2021 shooting death that took place in Mobile, Alabama. Smiley is also wanted for a federal bond violation on a federal drug charge in Fort Wayne.

In 2019, Smiley was given a plea deal for his role in the killing of Javon Burnett, 26, at a Fort Wayne apartment complex. Burnett was shot just before he was about to meet his family for an Easter church service.

As part of the plea, a murder charge was dismissed. According to the Marshals Service, he was sentenced to five years in prison, with two years suspended.

Prior to that, Smiley was implicated along with two others in the 2015 shooting death of Alonna Allison in Fort Wayne. The charges were later dismissed when prosecutors couldn’t get witnesses to testify.

Cynthia Gardner, Javon Burnett’s mother, said when she heard Smiley was still on the run it gave her some anxiety.

“Then I began to pray for the family in Alabama when I read that he robbed someone and it was in front of a child and then murdered. That really goes to me because he needs to be off the streets, because possibly who’s next?”

Javon Burnett was killed in 2018.

“Josh Smiley (then 21), was the person who set up the murder up along with Tyrion McNair ( then 25)  who took his life. It’s been five years ago and it’s been a daily journey I deal with. So with the help of God, I’m making it through,” said Gardner who works as the director of co-victim care with Alive Community Outreach, a not-for-profit working with families who’ve been affected by homicide.

Smiley did three years for his role in the killing, but still has a warrant on a federal charge.

When she read the U.S. Marshals release offering $5,000 reward for his capture, it brought back bad memories.

Cynthia Gardner

“It brought back the time I met him. My son introduced him to me on his front porch. I thought about that… when my son was smiling,” Gardner recalled.

“I thought about when I went to trial and how he did say he was sorry, but dropped his head. When my son tried to help him in the past…all of that came back.

“I just pray that they do get him. But the other thing is, I do feel for his family. Because not only does it affect him for doing the crime, but it affects the family because they have to deal with the pain.  I pray for them as well even though his mother has never reached out to me to give me any condolences,” Gardner said.

Several months ago, Gardner contacted Alabama law enforcement. Authorities there told her “they felt like he was still up this way,” Gardner reported.

She keeps tabs on his possible whereabouts and feels certain that he’ll be found.

“You can’t hide from God. God sees all. I’m sure a lot know where he’s at.”

Smiley is 6′ 5″ tall and weighs about 170 pounds. He has tattoos on both arms.

Authorities believe he may be in Mobile, Fort Wayne or Indianapolis. Smiley should be considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information regarding Smiley’s whereabouts is urged to contact the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-877-WANTED2 or use the USMS Tips App. Your information will be taken in strict confidence. Your anonymity is guaranteed.