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Edward N. Bell executed

Edward N. Bell

Convicted cop-killer Edward N. Bell was executed by lethal injection shortly after 9 p.m. Feb. 19, 2009 at the Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt.

Bell, a Jamaican national, had been held on Virginia's death row ever since his conviction in 2001 of murder in the 1999 shooting death of Winchester police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook.

This special section includes stories that have appeared in the Daily over the years, from 1999 when the region was stunned by the slaying of Sgt. Timbrook's, through Edward N. Bell's capture, his trial and years of court appeals that lead all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Also featured here are documents, photos, and audio and video pertinent to the case.

Interview with Edward N. Bell

Daily staff writer Garren Shipley interviewed Edward N. Bell by telephone. Read the story here. The following are clips from that interview:

Archive of stories in the Edward N. Bell case


Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook


View photo slideshow of images captured by nvdaily.com photographers during the week following the murder of police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook


Video provided by Bell's attorneys, shot in Jamaica:

nvdaily.com video

Joanne Nicholson, grandmother of three of Edward Bell's children, talks with Daily staff writer Garren Shipley about Bell:
Daily staff writer Jim Heffernan talks with friends and colleagues of slain police Sgt. Ricky Lee Timbrook:




Reference work compiled by Bell's appellate team and the office of Attorney General Bob McDonnell over the course of the death sentence appeal (PDFs):
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The following is a timeline of events in the life of Edward N. Bell.

  • Oct. 29, 1999: Timbrook is shot and killed after pursuing Bell. Bell is later found hiding in the basement of a house on East Piccadilly Street, not far from where police recover the gun used to kill Timbrook.
  • Jan. 20, 2001: Bell goes on trial in Winchester Circuit Court after a long series of motions.
  • Jan 26, 2001: A jury of nine women and three men find Bell guilty of capital murder.
  • Jan 26, 2001: The same jury takes less than an hour to sentence Bell to death. The dearth of mitigation witnesses presented by the defense team will later become an major issue on appeal.
  • May 30, 2001: Winchester Circuit Court Judge Dennis L. Hupp accepts the jury's death sentence.
  • June 28, 2001: Bell's lawyers file their first notice of appeal in Circuit Court.
  • Aug. 27, 2001: Bell's lawyers file their first appeal with the Virginia Supreme Court.
  • Jan. 29, 2002: Lawyers for Bell file their first series of briefs with the Virginia Supreme Court.
  • April 16, 2002: Justices of the Virginia Supreme Court hear oral arguments in Bell's appeal.
  • June 7, 2002: The Virginia Supreme Court upholds Bell's conviction and sentence.
  • Oct. 25, 2002: Bell's lawyers ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Bell's conviction.
  • Jan. 10, 2003: The nine justices decline to hear Bell's appeal, sending the matter back to state courts.
  • March 14, 2003: Bell files a habeas corpus petition with the Virginia Supreme Court.
  • April 10, 2003: The high court returns Bell's brief for being longer than 50 pages.
  • April 24, 2003: Bell's legal team files a smaller appeal with the Virginia Supreme Court.
  • May 2003: The Virginia Supreme Court turns down Bell's state-level habeas corpus appeal.
  • June 2004: State justices deny appeal from officer's killer.
  • November 2004: Petition for re-hearing is denied by the Virginia Supreme Court.
  • Dec. 7, 2004: Execution date is set for Jan 7., 2005.
  • Dec. 23, 2004: U.S. District Court Judge James P. Jones issues a stay of execution while Bell pursues one final appeal.
  • Jan. 3, 2005: A new legal team file paperwork in federal court in Abingdon, putting the court on notice that Bell intends to prove actual innocence.
  • May 17, 2005: Bell files federal habeas corpus appeal, asking for a new sentencing on the grounds that his legal team at the time didn't put on an adequate case in mitigation at sentencing.
  • June 16, 2005: Virginia Attorney General's office moves to dismiss the case.
  • July 6-7, 2005: Judge Jones castigates Bell's initial legal team for their sentencing performance after a two-day hearing in Harrisonburg, but stuns the courtroom by not ordering a new sentencing. Jones also grants a certificate of appeal, allowing the case to move forward to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
  • Sept. 18, 2006: Bell's case is docketed at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond.
  • July 13, 2007: Bell's pleadings and other documents filed in Richmond.
  • Oct. 30, 2007: A three judge panel hears oral arguments from Bell's attorneys and the Virginia Attorney General's office.
  • Jan. 4, 2008: The three judge panel rules against Bell.
  • Jan. 18, 2008: Bell asks the appellate court to re-hear the case.
  • Jan. 29, 2008: The same three judge panel denies Bell's rehearing petition.
  • Feb. 5, 2008: Bell asks the court to "stay its mandate" so as to leave the stay of execution issued in 2004 in place while he appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Feb. 12, 2008: The three-judge panel denies Bell's request.
  • Feb. 14, 2008: A Winchester Circuit Court judge sets Bell's execution date for April 8.
  • April 16, 2008: Gov. Timothy M. Kaine lifts temporary moratorium on Virginia death penalty
  • May 12, 2008: U.S. Supreme Court stays execution
  • Nov. 12, 2008: U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments
  • Nov. 17, 2008: U.S. Supreme Court dismisses Bell's last appeal.
  • Dec. 30, 2008: Winchester Circuit Court judge sets date of Bell's execution: Feb. 19

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