Miss. family says if their loved one’s killer is released, public safety will be at risk

Miss. family says if their loved one’s killer is released, public safety will be at risk
Miss. family says if their loved one’s killer is released, public safety will be at risk(WCBI)
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 4:49 PM CDT
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GRENADA, Miss. (WCBI) - In 1991, a young man in Grenada, Mississippi, lost his life while working at a convenience store. Thirty-one years later, his killer could be released on parole.

On May 6, 1991, the city of Grenada was shaken by a shooting that killed 21-year-old Bert Bell.

His younger brother Gene was a sophomore in high school at that time, but still remembers the day his brother died.

Frederick Bell, with no relation to Gene or Bert, was one of two men who robbed the store where Bert was working. Frederick Bell shot Bert nine times, and Gene Bell says it didn’t stop there.

“Frederick Bell and Anthony Doss both fled the scene from there and went to Memphis, Tennessee, where they also robbed another convenience store and shot and killed the clerk there where they shot him seventeen times,” said Gene Bell.

Frederick Bell was charged with capital murder and sentenced to death in 1993. He was later resentenced to life in prison.

Now, the Mississippi Parole Board has granted Frederick Bell parole, and that’s raising concerns with some state lawmakers and the family of Bert Bell.

Just over 31 years after Bert’s death, Fredrick Bell was set to be released Monday, September 26. However, in a September 26 post on Facebook, Gene Bell said that a stay has been issued in the release of Fredrick Bell.

“From death row, to his scheduled execution in 2010, to a stay of execution by the governor, then to pleading that he’s mentally retarded and mentally unable to cope with society, to resentencing because he was able to get deemed mentally unstable, to parole hearing beginning in 2015, to a release in 2022,” said Gene Bell.

When 2022 approached, the fight to keep his brother’s killer behind bars kicked into high gear.

“Two years ago, we began to get a twelve-month offset only, which means that, for my family, we’re in Jackson in front of a parole board every ten months. So every ten months it’s recurring - it’s the same thing. So you relive May the sixth of 1991 all over again, you’re devastated. Not that you’re devastated every day of your life, but you’re devastated all over again for the brutality of that day. It’s never-ending,” said Gene Bell.

Frederick Bell is 51 years old and Gene Bell said he’s in good health. He believes that’s a concern to others besides his family.

“The issue is public safety for me, for you, and for all the other law-abiding citizens. It’s not a partisan issue between a Democrat and Republican. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about public safety,” said Gene Bell.

Gene Bell was on the phone with Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson when WCBI arrived at his home on September 23. He said he was trying to get his concerns to the governor before Monday so his brother’s killer would not be able to cause anyone else any harm.

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