Frederick Bell is set to be paroled next Monday.
The Mississippi Parole Board has granted parole to Frederick Bell and lawmakers are raising red flags.
Bell was convicted in the Circuit Court of Grenada County of capital murder and sentenced to death in 1993. On direct appeal, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence. However, Bell was later declared mentally retarded and, therefore, his death sentence was ruled as unconstitutional.
The Circuit Court then resentenced Bell to life without parole, but Bell appealed again, this time arguing that MS Code Section 99-19-107 did not apply to his case. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court agreed and vacated Bell’s sentence and remanded it for resentencing.
Now, the Mississippi Parole Board has notified the family of the victim Bell murdered over 30 years ago that they have determined that he “has been rehabilitated” and that they feel that “private supervision will be more beneficial than further incarceration.”
The Parole Board set his tentative release date for September 26, 2022, pending completion of the documentation process.
The family of the victim Bell murdered cannot believe he is being released and has contacted lawmakers seeking assistance.
“Not only did this animal kill my brother – shot him 9 times – on May 6, 1991, he also traveled to Memphis, Tennessee where he killed another store clerk the same day,” the brother of the victim told Y’all Politics.
State Senator Angela Hill is among the lawmakers appalled at the Parole Board’s action on Bell.
“I stand with the victim’s family in opposing the release of this convicted double murderer who brutally shot 9 bullets into the body of their loved one who was just trying to work for a living,” Hill said on Wednesday. “This same violent criminal was found guilty of murder of a Tennessee store clerk the same day of this murder in Mississippi. I can’t imagine the anguish of this family knowing he will be free Monday if the parole board doesn’t reverse course.”
Senator Hill said that no amount of time in prison is sufficient for two murders.
“The public deserves to be safe. Victims of violence matter,” Hill added.
State Rep. Stacey Wilkes agrees with Senator Hill. Wilkes says the deceased victims will never have the opportunity to have their lives restored because of the heinous crimes committed against them by Fredrick Bell.
THE CRIME BELL IS CONVICTED OF COMMITTING IN MISSISSIPPI
According to court records:
On May 6, 1991, Robert C. “Bert” Bell was working as a store clerk at Sparks Stop-and-Go in Grenada County. That day Frederick Bell accompanied by Anthony Joe Doss, Robert Kennedy James, and Frank Coffey purchased beer and potato chips from Bert. The two Bells are not related.
The four exited the store, sat at a nearby picnic table and talked. Planning to go to Memphis, Bell said that he needed money. Bell announced that he was going to rob the store and showed the group a .22 caliber pistol. Doss also had in his possession a gun, which turned out to be inoperable. Refusing to take part, James and Coffey departed the premises as the other two went back into the store. Minutes later, James and Coffey heard hollering accompanied by gunshots. When Bell and Doss caught up with the other two, they showed them items they had taken from the store, including a money bag, .38 caliber pistol and a box of bullets. Because he did not want any witnesses, Bell then threatened to kill James. Coffey and Doss stepped in to prevent this. Both James and Coffey testified that Bell said he shot Bert.
Later that day, Bernard Gladney drove Bell, Doss, and Coffey to Memphis. On the way, Bell again stated that he wanted to kill James to prevent him from telling anyone about the murder.
Eventually, Bell was arrested in Memphis on another crime. Two guns were found in the house where he was arrested, a third was found in Gladney’s vehicle. Leland H. Jones, III, represented Bell during both the trial and the direct appeal. During the trial, there was no direct testimony regarding what actually occurred inside the store. Bell maintained that he was in Memphis the day of the murder.
However, there were no witnesses to corroborate his alibi. Both James’s sister and Coffey’s girlfriend testified that they saw Bell with Coffey, Doss and James the day of the murder.
The store owner, James Shelby Sparks, testified that a .38 caliber pistol (which was later recovered during Bell’s arrest), a box of shells, and a money bag were taken from the store during the robbery. An autopsy revealed that Bert was shot several times. Ballistics tests showed that Bert was shot with the .38 and a smaller caliber gun, likely a .22 caliber.