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 was only hours away from execution 12/29/10
Fredrick Bell maintained all through his arrest, trial, and 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, a 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.
Last 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 Luckily, the justices of the SCOTUS decided to deny the request and instead ordered Fredrick be given a new evidentiary hearing. This hearing is expected to be heard sometime in the summer/autumn (fall) 2011.
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 videos 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 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 victim’s family member did serve.
This is not the 1800′s this is 2010 and this case is real! Fredrick Bell was moved to an observation cell, so he could be monitored more closely, ready for his move to the death house. This all happened. Can you imagine the absolute terror Fredrick felt. He didn’t learn he was not to die until after the execution time. The justices did not hand down their ruling until early January, Freddie knew he wouldn’t die immediately, but was fully aware the justices, had they done nothing, would have opened the door for AG Hood to request another date straight away.
Fredrick Bell is a father, a son, a brother, uncle, and friend to many. In a few months he couldl be DEAD… Killed by the state of Mississippi, under it’s version of justice.
It is vital that we keep the pressure on the lawyers to do all they can, to locate all the missing and ‘lost’ evidence, and if It truly can’t be found to present all this to the court. The affidavits that were offered as defence evidence yet refused at the initial trial MUST be allowed this time. There is video tape that shows Freddie was in Memphis at the time of the murder, this MUST be located and presented at trial.
This is a capital case, a man’s life is at stake, there should be nothing the court should not see in relation to this case. You simply cannot sentence a man to the ultimate punishment without being in full possession of all the facts. NOT just what the prosecution wants presented. That is a travesty of justice and makes the prosecutor as guilty of murder as any true killer locked up in a prison cell.
Written by Road2Justice
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Originally posted May 25 2011