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Residents discuss Bell execution

Murderer scheduled to die tonight for '99 police officer slaying, barring intervention

By Garren Shipley -- Daily Staff Writer

WINCHESTER -- The day before Edward N. Bell's scheduled execution, evidence of the impending event was hard to come by Wednesday.

Bell, a Jamaican national, was convicted in 2001 of the 1999 murder of Winchester police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook. Barring some extraordinary intervention, he will die today.

He is scheduled to be executed tonight by lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarrat, not far from the North Carolina line.

Bell continues to maintain his innocence.

Diplomats from the European Union have written to Kaine seeking clemency, and anti-death penalty activists have started petitions seeking a commutation.

Others will be handing out fliers at Metro stations in Virginia today, urging residents to call Kaine's office.

But few people on or near the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall on Wednesday said they'd heard of the case, or were at best superficially familiar with it.

"I have a hard time with executions, but I guess it's necessary if that's what courts have decided," said Sharon Boggs, of the Potomac Bead Co.

A Winchester Circuit Court jury and several appeals panels have spoken to Bell's guilt. But that's not to say she's comfortable with the idea.

"If I was the one pulling the switch, I'd have a hard time doing it," she said. "It's still a life."

Boggs was the exception on Wednesday. That could be because Winchester in 2009 is a much different place than it was in 1999.

An economic boom brought in thousands of new residents and scores of new businesses. Some neighborhoods that were once home to open-air drug markets have been cleaned up.

It could also be because people have much more pressing things on their mind, according to Andy Gyurisin, at Winchester Book Gallery.

Economic problems have people more concerned about whether or not they'll have a job next month, he said.

In his bookstore, "people are talking more about the economy, the stimulus package, things more on a national scale," he said.

"I don't know where we are or if people even realize that it's tomorrow."

Gyurisin himself said he hasn't been following the case much beyond the headlines.

"I know that [the execution has] been many years in the making," he said.

Bell's case may not be the buzz of the bookstore, but it does come up on occasion among the patrons of John B. Hayes Tobacconist in Winchester, just a block from where the shooting took place.

Patrons there said that, while they had all moved to the area since the shooting, they do have friends who were in Winchester in 1999 -- and many have doubts about Bell's guilt.

"I've heard cops say that he didn't do it," said Gary Gerrien, one of several men in the store smoking Wednesday afternoon "They've said another cop shot him."

Bell is scheduled to die at 9 p.m.

Contact Garren Shipley at gshipley@nvdaily.com




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4 Comments



anglhrtdvlmnd

I am one of the people who have serious doubts about Eddie's guilt. I have stood by this since he was arrested and I still believe that if they go through with the execution then they are killing an innocent man. May god have mercy on the souls of those involved in the execution.

Robin

I want to say that I think a terrible tragedy occurred at 9pm tonight when Eddie was executed. I want to commend your reporters all of them who have gave Eddie a chance from the beginning.I hope that someone writes a book about this conspiracy and how someone died today simply because they were the the wrong color at the wrong place at the wrong time.When I listened to the story Eddie gave about being scared and hiding because it reminded him of back home,I knew for sure at that moment he was telling the truth because i have heard many Jamaicans same the exact same thing.This man came from a different culture,and some rugged ways of life.However,that did not make him a killer,it made him a martyr. Eddie Bell is sadly but a statistic of what happens when you have no money and are accused of a crime.Had Eddie been wealthy there is no doubt that he would be setting somewhere listening to some smooth reggae and enjoying his life,now his children and family are left with the heartache and despair.To the Bell family:May god bring you peace and comfort in this time of tragedy,but know that Eddie is with his father and at peace,the others will live on and one day will see that Eddie was innocent. I wonder how they will apologize to you.Mr.Shipley write this book and tell Eddie's story,then he will rest in peace.

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.

MGuynes

Well it never seems to fail that just because a black jamaican man was executed for a police officers death, this automatically becomes a racism issue?? No. Not hardly, I do not agree with any of that statement. Although, I do believe that had the victim of the shooting been one other than an officer of the law, he'd have not been on death row. Yes, it's very possible that Bell could've easily been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but who's to know for sure? Noone. Noone but himself. I'm not for nor against the death penalty, I believe the sentencing lies solely on the case itself. At times, I do believe that.. why should you be given the gift of life if you feel the need to take anothers? Especially depending on the reasoning. Then again, Bell has a family that is going to be without a father.. and that's something that deep down truely can't be replaced. I do feel that the death penalty in this case is something that should've been given a closer look and more thought put into the process, but that's the way our courts system works around here. They don't see the future, all they see and know is that Bell has been the one accused of killing one of their men. That's all they care about. But noone is to say that he wasn't guilty.. or that it was because of his race or ethnicity. That's just foolish.

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