JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – “I have a hard time understanding how my family is supposed to live the decisions of the board to release a brutal animal, a murderer,” Gene Bell said addressing the recent decision to grant the man who murdered his brother parole.
In 1991, 21-year-old Bert Bell was shot 9 times while working at a convenience store in Grenada by Fredrick Bell.
Now, after 31 years behind bars, Fredrick Bell has been granted parole.
“July the 11th of 2022, My wife and I both met with the current parole board that Governor Tate Reeves has appointed and was assured that we had no intentions of paroling the guy. Then on August 29, I received a letter from the Mississippi state parole board, stating that they, in fact, believed that he was rehabilitated and they were going to let him walk free and walk our streets.
On Bell’s parole date, however, Bell was issued a stay – meaning he would have to wait until October 26 to see if he’ll be released.
According to former Parole Board member, Steve Pickett, in the past, those who were charged with capital murder and life sentences, were not issued parole.
Senator Angela Hill says she’s shocked by the board’s decision.
“If there are mistakes being made, and if all facts are not being considered before somebody is granted release, especially somebody with this type of criminal background of capital murder, something’s not working.”
Senator Hill says whether the parole board is overwhelmed with cases or if the grant was intentional.
State lawmakers are keeping a closer eye on the board.
“There’s a lot of upset legislators while we’ve seen some of these folks that have been let out recently. So I’m just saying that let’s get a handle on this. Figure out what’s going on and go from here.”
Bell, says if anything needs to be changed, it’s how victims’ families are informed and how much influence the family has on the parole board’s decision.
“There’s some reform that needs to be done and there’s a huge deal disconnect between the parole board and victim’s families.”
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