Wednesday 8 December 2010

The case of Fredrick Bell - Mississippi death row.


In May 1991 a young man named Fredrick Bell was convicted of the capital murder of store clerk Albert Bell. This is fact, however the arrest, trial and conviction of Fredrick Bell, verges on the ridiculous. Fredrick's time on death row at Parchman prison is insane, and he is now days away from execution.

Fredrick Bell maintained all through his arrest, trial, conviction and beyond that he was not even in the state of Mississippi at the time of this crime. There is another involved, a man named Anthony Doss. Anthony admits to killing Bert Bell, and he too is on death row in Mississippi. 

Fredrick Bell had gone to Memphis Tennessee long before the murder that took Bert Bell's life. Fredrick maintains there is video footage showing him in Tennessee at the time of the murder, and the states star witness, an man named Frank Coffey who at trial said Fredrick was there has since recanted this testimony. After the murder Fredrick Bell was still in Memphis, he was extradited from there to stand trial. There is another witness who backs Fredrick's claim fully who lives in Memphis and did at the time this crime occurred, yet he was excluded from giving evidence at Fredrick's trial, even stopped from presenting a sworn affidavit! There are two businessmen who were also prepared to swear affidavits, they too were prohibited from doing so. These men saw Fredrick in their premises at the day and time of Bert Bell's death, so why were they excluded from the proceedings?

Fredrick Bell was proclaimed indigent, so was given a state appointed public defender. It is well known and documented, these people are usually badly under experienced, highly overworked, and quite often will never have defended in a murder case, much less a capital murder case. This was how it was for Fredrick. His court appointed lawyer did not fight to have these vital witness', he did not ask for any DNA or fingerprint testing, he did not investigate the video tapes that would have offered concrete proof Fredrick was not at the scene, not even in the state. Fredrick Bell  has maintained all these years that a member of the victims family served as a juror at his trial. It is vital at this point to say Fredrick Bell and Albert Bell were not in anyway related. The voir dire from Fredrick's case shows clear evidence that jurors the prosecutor wanted ended up on the jury that convicted Fredrick. The ineffectual council that Fredrick had, offered little if any resistance to the choice of jurors.

The trial was a foregone conclusion for many who listened to the proceedings. Fredrick Bell was previously known to the Police department, and they wanted him off the streets. They got their way! There was no justice at Fredrick's trial, it was nothing more than a rubber stamp of the prosecutors wishes. Fredrick Bell, a young black man, tried in a highly racially divided state, with an almost completely white jury. 

As was expected, Fredrick was found guilty and sentenced to death. Anthony Doss received the same sentence. Both were moved to death row to begin their appeals. 

This year saw real movement in these cases. Anthony Doss who admitted to killing Bert Bell, is to receive a new sentencing phase in his case, which could see his sentence reduced to life in prison. Fredrick ran out of appeals and the AG Jim Hood requested an execution date for 12/29/10 While in prison Fredrick has gone for very long periods of time with no legal representation. Appeal dates have come and gone, and Judges have refused to extend time lines. These appeals were not filed due to Fredrick not having a lawyer to file them! We must ask why the Judges in these appeals denied the request for extensions, when an inmate condemned to death has no lawyer? 

Finally Fredrick was given a new lawyer, but with the missing of many appeal dates it was always going to be an uphill struggle. Fredrick demanded that certain items in his case be DNA and fingerprinted. These items include a cash register, a potato chip packet and beer bottle. The Innocence project in Mississippi took up this case but in an unofficial capacity. The reason for this has never been explained. The Innocence project began to look for the items that Fredrick asked to be tested. Suddenly it became clear, these items were gone, vanished! With that they could not be tested. The video's that show Fredrick was in Memphis have never been asked for! Affidavits that have been offered by people in Memphis, have never been taken! 

Fredrick Bell will never see 2011 if Mississippi have their way, yet the injustice and holes in this case are staggering.

Fredrick was convicted under the felony murder law.
The evidence in this case is lost.
Witness' that could give Fredrick a solid alibi, ignored.
Video tapes and affidavits that could show innocence - not collected
A condemned man with huge gaps of no legal representation.
A possible tainted jury, if a victims family member did serve.

This is not the 1800's this is 2010 and this case is real! Fredrick Bell has been moved to an observation cell, so he can be monitored more closely, ready for his move to the death house. This is all happening NOW!

Fredrick Bell is a father, a son, a brother, uncle, and friend to many. In a few days he will be DEAD... Killed by the state of Mississippi, under it's version of justice.

We MUST save Fredrick's life. You can help by signing the clemency petition at:

Calling and e-mailing Mississippi Governor Barbour at:

Phone: 601-359-3150 (international callers please use the prefix 001).


Written by Road2justice. Please feel free to use this article to help Fredrick Bell.

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