Outcry prompts Parole Board to pull plug on releasing convicted killer
A Mississippi man serving life for murder will not be paroled, the Parole Board decided Wednesday, reversing a previous decision to free him after more than 30 years in prison.
Frederick Bell was convicted of capital murder for the May 1991 shooting of death 21-year-old Robert “Bert” Bell (no relation) during a store robbery in Grenada County.
Gene Bell, Bert’s younger brother, told Mississippi Today that Frederick Bell won’t be reconsidered for parole for two years. Frederick Bell had been set to be released at the end of September.
He had originally received a death sentence, but several court rulings in the past decade paved the way for him to be resentenced and become eligible for parole. Frederick Bell was resentenced to life without parole when the Mississippi Supreme Court found he was mentally disabled and then life with possibility of parole.
One reason Bell was denied parole is because of how his pending release was advertised to the public. Sen. Angela Burks Hill, R-Picayune, had questioned whether the Parole Board followed state law, which says notification must go in a newspaper published or circulated in the county where the crime was committed.
In a Monday interview with Supertalk Radio, Gene Bell said the notice of Frederick Bell’s release was advertised in the Clarion Ledger rather than the local paper, the Grenada Star.
In July, the Parole Board sent a letter to Gene Bell about its decision to parole Frederick Bell because members found he had been rehabilitated.
In response to the board’s actions, Bert Bell’s family members, Grenada community members, state lawmakers and law enforcement groups around the state signed a petition and wrote letters to the Parole Board and Gov. Tate Reeves to ask that Frederick Bell’s parole be denied.
Bell remains at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, according to prison records.