DA and AG Dismiss Case Against Robbie Bell

Attorney General Jim Hood

[Verbatim statement from the AG's office] "The criminal case against Robbie Bell was dismissed today for lack of evidence in the case. The decision was made by both the Hinds County District Attorney's Office and the Office of the Attorney General after an exhaustive investigation and finally, discussion with the victim's family."

Previous Comments

ID
99706
Comment

A WJTV reporter interviewed Spencer's grandmother (I think her name was Mary Henley), and she said that the family did not agree with the AG's decision. She also said that the family was not notified of the decision until today.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-03-25T21:26:58-06:00
ID
99707
Comment

be careful of "family stements" in then clarion ledger yesterday there was a story on Breeland Hilburn an appointed judge gving an "unfair sentence". It was not noted that the victims famly (at quoted) said it was not right. Granted the victims family agreed for leniency in open court. But why should that get in the CL's coverage. they found a relative to speak out!

Author
AGamm627
Date
2008-03-25T22:58:15-06:00
ID
99708
Comment

Oh. My. God. Was just reading the story on Robbie Bell's clearing in the Ledger and ran into this sentence: He said if Robbie Spencer knew about the death she should have told police. Robbie SPENCER?!? Clarion-Ledger, for crying out loud, fix this offensive mistake online RIGHT now. Spencer is the last name of the woman that Robbie's son bludgeoned to death, and tried to a few months earlier before she, apparently, got him out of town, and the police and her attorneys did everything they could to get Heather to drop the charges against him. See our Sept. 26, 2006, story, and be sure to click on all the PDFs. Ledger, come on. This is the kind of mistake that really matters to real people. FIX IT, and this issue a major correction and apology on behalf of report Lovelady and the editors over there.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-03-26T08:27:32-06:00
ID
99709
Comment

How about this one from the same CL story: " U.S. District Attorney Jim Hood said Tuesday his office had dropped the charge of accessory after the murder against Robbie Bell." That's pretty bad all around.

Author
jd
Date
2008-03-26T08:48:41-06:00
ID
99710
Comment

Egad. I hadn't had enough coffee when I read the piece to notice that one, I guess. "U.S. District Attorney"? And is that the correct charge name? Still, that's just a dumb error. Giving George Bell's mother the last name of his victim is painfully offensive. And has no over there noticed it, yet, to fix it? That adds insult to injury. You can't let this sit out there. Correct it in the text, and then put a correction explanation/apology below it. How hard is that? Those people have been victimized enough without getting it from the daily newspaper, too. I really don't know how people show up to work over there every day, knowing the product that goes out at the end of the day. What's remarkable is that the world knows that Gannett is one of the richest media companies in the world; why don't they put resources into good editors, motivated reporters and training so that the young journalists don't make fools of themselves as they do. It's not their fault. That comes from the top, both inside the local corporate outlet, as well as in the Virginia home office. Bottom line: They can afford to do better, but they won't. Daily newspapers are failing and losing readership because they are so bad these days and irrelevant to people; they are dividing their resources into putting out dumb, empty publications like VIP Jackson, instead of into enterprise reporting and editors who give a damn. But the almighty profit margin has enslaved them all, and no one can reverse the trend. It's sad to watch on the one hand, but these corporate monsters are getting what they deserve. It's just too bad that the communities and these young reporters have to be injured in the process. Then, again, the so-called journalists who sell out their careers to such mediocre, passive, low-rent journalism don't get a lost of sympathy from me. Go sell cars or something before you sell out the Fourth Estate like they do.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-03-26T09:01:24-06:00
ID
99711
Comment

Smith muffs his first big case already? From what we're hearing, it sounds like he made his decision before hand or had it made for him.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2008-03-26T09:45:20-06:00
ID
99712
Comment

I doubted there was any criminality in the actions or inactions of Robbie Bell from the inception of this case. As bad as it may seem, it is not against the law to fail to report a crime or refuse to aid in the investigation of a crime. Something OVERT must be done to either aid in the crime or in covering up the crime after the fact. Failure to stop her son from committing a murder is not a crime. Nor was her failure to report the crime after the murder had been committed. Neither of these actions rises to the level of obstruction of justice. For the most part, you just can't legislate human kindness and good citizenship. Hood made the right call on this one.

Author
clarkkent
Date
2008-03-26T10:11:05-06:00
ID
99713
Comment

Ironghost, I don't think Smith muffed this one. But he did muff his first big case. In my opinion the first big case that he muffed was the Jerron Gray case. An acquittal on a capital murder case with both a confession and an eye witness is incomprehensible to me. Definitely a muff. That case has caused he and his staff to shy away from jury trials. Since that happened his office has offered and accepted low-ball pleas on murder cases such as the Spencer Gomillion case which his office accepted a plea of 7 yrs to serve on a murder case and last week just flat out dismissed a murder case against Phyllis Berry which was against the wishes of the detective and victim's family. Incidentally, didn't Smith run on the platform that he was going to try cases himself? Has he tried any cases yet?

Author
clarkkent
Date
2008-03-26T10:17:31-06:00
ID
99714
Comment

clarkkent makes a good point, although I don't know what evidence they had. All that's public is rumor and innuendo. That said, I personally am very outraged if what has been said is true. I can't even comprehend spending the night with a dead body, or having one in my house for two seconds without reporting it. Otherwise, it's about time that we start to spotlight what is, and is not, happening in the D.A.'s office. He's had enough honeymoon time. And we're hearing interesting stuff.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-03-26T10:48:43-06:00
ID
99715
Comment

The C-L did correct Robbie Bell's name, but as of 12:55pm, Jim Hood is still "U.S. District Attorney".

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-03-26T11:57:40-06:00
ID
99716
Comment

And they didn't add any sort of notice or apology. What schmucks. I've really never seen a worse newspaper in my life, not when you consider the resources they have.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-03-26T12:03:54-06:00
ID
99717
Comment

As for "U.S. District Attorney," Ledger readers are too dumb to know the difference anyway. Or so they apparently think.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-03-26T12:06:51-06:00
ID
99718
Comment

I know the Jerron Gray case personally. There were parts of evidence and several points about the "eye witness" testimony that were never fully reported. Beyond that, his mother gave him an air tight alibi on the stand. It came down to believing an eye witness (who changed his story twice) and a mother (who never changed her story). I think Jerron received a fair trial. The very fact that he isn't in jail for LIFE for a crime he committed at 14 (I believe it was 14) after being diagnosed mentally ill at a young age doesn't mean Smith "muffed" a case. It might just mean a young black male actually received "just trial". Wouldn't that be a FIRST in MS history? Back to the issue at hand. I just had to get that out.

Author
Lori G
Date
2008-03-26T13:14:00-06:00
ID
99719
Comment

"Beyond that, his mother gave him an air tight alibi on the stand. " Oooh... that just oozes credibility. Anyways. Ole' Jim Hood... what do you say about him. He's close to the top of my "Thank God I didn't vote for him" list. He went to trial against Melton with a LOT less than what he has for the mom of the murderer. He is either a coward or something else is going on.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-03-26T17:56:50-06:00
ID
99720
Comment

LawClerk, as I recall the Melton case did not go to trial. Melton plead guilty prior to a jury being seated. I do agree with you on the credibility issue of Gray's mother. Certainly most mothers would stretch the truth to protect their child from a life sentence. The fact of the matter is that from the outset I did not see any CRIMINAL action on the part of Robbie Bell. Certainly her inactions were immoral but there is a vast difference between immoral and illegal. In all fairness if you are going to question Hood for dismissing Robbie Bell's case, then you must give him credit for putting a case together that was so strong that George Bell felt compelled to plead guilty to capital murder and accept a life w/out parole sentence. As far Lori G's comments. Maybe I misread her comment but it appears that she said Gray committed the murder. (The very fact that he isn't in jail for LIFE for a crime he committed at 14 (I believe it was 14) after being diagnosed mentally ill at a young age doesn't mean Smith "muffed" a case) Somehow even though he killed the storekeeper he doesn't deserve the punishment because he was 14 and because he was allegedly mentally ill. I say allegedly because there was no expert testimony regarding mental illness, unless his mom is also a forensic psychiatrist. Obviously if the defense could have gotten even a dentist to say he was mentally ill they would have. The fact that the bullet that killed the storekeeper came from a gun held by a 14 year old does not make him any less dead! Lori also forgot to mention the confession that was given by Gray. The confession that the Court allowed in after hearing all the arguments from the defense regarding coercion. This was a muff by Smith. Once a 14 year old decides to engage in adult actions such as armed robbery and murder, then they cannot be allowed to claim youth as their defense. That is a calculated cop out and I am not buying it.

Author
clarkkent
Date
2008-03-27T09:38:39-06:00
ID
99721
Comment

Clarkkent-You are right. I misstyped. What I meant was "for a crime he alledgedly committed" at 14. I do apologize for that. I'm in and out on here very quickly at work and-at times- don't get the perusal time I would like when I comment. Forgive me. What I am attempting to say here, very badly I might add, is that I do know some other facts of that case. I believe the jury was right. I do not think Smith "muffed". I think he presented a case and a jury made a decision based upon "reasonable doubt". This by no means shapes my entire opinion of DA Smith. (Which is why discussions like this with only "either/or" options and no gray area just blow my mind, but anyway) Smith may be a crappy DA. Who knows? Time will tell with certainty. Yes, LAWCLERK, it was "reasonable doubt" that his mother provided. But, it wasn't (thank god) up to you to decide whether her testimony was valid.

Author
Lori G
Date
2008-03-27T13:03:42-06:00
ID
99722
Comment

I obviously can't spell either. Forgive typos/spelling in above post...it was done during my second three minute break of the day from wrangling children.

Author
Lori G
Date
2008-03-27T13:05:22-06:00
ID
99723
Comment

"But, it wasn't (thank god) up to you to decide whether her testimony was valid." I know... Thank God right? Because another murderer wouldn't have been let off in Hinds County. It's ok though. Hinds is going to go to the criminals, and the law-abiders will be left in Madison-Rankin. No biggie.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-03-30T19:49:47-06:00

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus