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Posted August 29, 2001 | comments Leave a comment

Bell’s lawyers file appeal with state high court

By Kevin Killen -- Daily Staff Writer

Lawyers for convicted murderer Edward N. Bell continued the appeals process to stop the execution of their client by filing assignments of error and designation of the record appeal with the Virginia Supreme Court.

Warrenton-based attorneys Jud A. Fischel and Mark B. Williams filed the appeal on behalf of their client Monday.

Bell, a native of Jamaica, was convicted in January of the October 1999 shooting death of Winchester Police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook following a foot chase down Piccadilly Street.

Bell was sentenced to death May 30 by Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp.

He also was sentenced to three years for using a firearm in the commission of murder, five years for possessing a firearm while possessing cocaine and 10 years for possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute.

Hupp also levied a $5,000 fine for the possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute charge.

This is the second appeal by Bell's attorneys. They filed their client's first appeal on June 28 with the state Supreme Court, which formally disputed Hupp's original decision.

Winchester Commonwealth's Attorney Paul H. Thomson said the assignments of error and designation of the record are standard procedure in the appeals process.

Under the appeal, 29 assignments of error are listed, including one that asks that Bell's death sentence be vacated because it is "arbitrary and disproportionate, in violation of Bell's rights as guaranteed by the eight and 14th amendments to the Constitution of the United States, Sections eight and nine of Article one of the Virginia Constitution and Virginia law."

Bell's attorneys also state that the court erred in:

• Refusing to permit Bell's trial to be moved to a different county, even though virtually the entire jury panel was exposed to the extensive media coverage about the case.

• Denying Bell's request for an expert to investigate Bell's possible brain damage.

• Failing to bar the commonwealth from further prosecution of Bell on all charges based upon a violation of the Virginia Code inasmuch as Bell was continuously in custody for in excess of five months.

• Refusing to exclude Bell's statement to the police that was obtained without advising Bell, a Jamaican national, of his rights to consular notice and assistance.

• Failing to ensure the jury was adequately instructed at the penalty phase of Bell's capital trial.

• Refusing to prohibit the law enforcement officers attending the trial as spectators from wearing their uniforms, in violation of Bell's right to a fair trial, an impartial jury and due process of law.

Fischel and Williams could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Bell is awaiting his fate in the correctional facility in Sussex County, where he has been since May.


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