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Bell's last words: 'You definitely have the wrong person. The truth will come out one day.'

By Garren Shipley -- Daily Staff Writer

JARRATT -- He resisted until the last moment, but death came quickly and quietly.

Edward N. Bell, 43, was executed by lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Center on Thursday night.

He was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m.

Bell was convicted in 2001 of the 1999 murder of Winchester police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook and sentenced to death.

Bell was led into the chamber shortly before 9 p.m., half-dragged, half-carried by the six members of the execution team, who hefted him onto the execution gurney.

Both his hands and his feet were cuffed.

All six members of the team worked to strap Bell down, going so far as to wrap his fingers and hands in elastic bandages and taping them to the table.

At precisely 9 p.m., a curtain was drawn over the witness viewing rooms, and the execution team started two IVs in Bell's arms.

At 9:05 p.m., the curtain was opened again, and Bell gave his final statement.

"To the Timbrook family, you definitely have the wrong person," he said, in a thick Jamaican accent. "The truth will come out one day. This killing me, there's not justice about it."

A prison official on the phone with Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's office then nodded, and the executioners began the flow of lethal chemicals from behind a second curtain.

Death appeared to come quickly.

The IV lines bounced up and down as the executioners began pushing the drugs, and Bell's steady breathing became quick, and then stopped.

It was apparent that the two other drugs were administered in sequence, but Bell had already stopped breathing.

In the witness room, several of Timbrook's colleagues from the Winchester Police Department watched, leaning forward in their chairs, straining to see as much as they could through the glass.

Winchester Sheriff Leonard "Lenny" Millholland, who was a city police officer in 1999, sat back in his chair with his legs crossed, regarding the scene with little visible emotion.

Members of Timbrook's family were at the prison to witness the execution, but were kept separate from the media.

They were seen only once in a van entering the prison.

Bell was scheduled to die no fewer than three times before Thursday, but either courts or Kaine intervened to delay the execution.

He requested no last meal, and spent much of the day visiting with his immediate family members, who were not allowed to witness the execution.

Bell's lawyers pleaded for clemency up until the last minute, asking Kaine to stop the execution because of uncertainty as to his guilt.

The governor declined.

"Having carefully reviewed the petition for clemency and judicial opinions regarding this case, I find no compelling reason to set aside the sentence that was recommended by the jury, and then imposed and affirmed by the courts," Kaine said in a written statement.

"Accordingly, I decline to intervene," he said.

On Thursday, death penalty opponents circulated petitions, handed out fliers at Metro stations and held candlelight vigils outside the prison and all over the state, including Winchester.

Prisoners near the death house made their objections known to anyone who would listen, shouting "Ed Bell! You killers! You murderers!" at everyone who entered the death house.

Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell, whose office fought to have Bell executed, disagreed wholeheartedly.

"Tonight justice has been served. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Sgt. Timbrook, a brave law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty," McDonnell said in a written statement.

Executions -- particularly that of Bell -- have long been a political sore spot for Kaine.

A lawyer who once represented some death row inmates before entering politics, Kaine is a staunch opponent of the death penalty for reasons of his Roman Catholic faith.

His main opponent in the 2005 race, Republican Jerry Kilgore, tried to make political hay with the issue, going so far as to issue a campaign ad with Timbrook's widow Kelly telling viewers that she didn't trust Kaine to carry out Bell's death sentence.

Kaine responded to the ad by reiterating his objections to the death penalty, but promising to carry out executions as they're the law of the land.

It's a promise he has followed through on eight times prior to Bell's execution Thursday.

Kaine has granted clemency one time. Percy L. Walton's death sentence was commuted in 2008 after Kaine determined that Walton was too mentally ill to understand his fate.

Bell was the 103rd Virginia inmate executed since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. Virginia ranks second only to Texas in the number of executions since then.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Garren Shipley at gshipley@nvdaily.com




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2 Comments



wescoell

I'm just not convinced that Mr. Bell is guilty. Seems like a cover up will one day be exposed...and at what a cost. May peace be with his family, for he had one as well.

anglhrtdvlmnd

This is a true travesty and one day when everyone involved comes to the realization that they executed an innocent man I hope that god understands. To the Bell family, my thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope you take some (however little) comfort in knowing that there are people out there that believed in Eddie and will continue to do so.

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