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[T] Bell v. State

June 11, 1998

CHARLES SYLVESTER BELL
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



Before Prather, P.j., Roberts And Mills, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mills, Justice

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/06/96

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. RICHARD WAYNE McKENZIE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: FORREST COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - POST CONVICTION RELIEF

DISPOSITION REVERSED AND REMANDED - 3/12/98

MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:

MANDATE ISSUED:

¶1. Charles Sylvester Bell appealed pro se to this Court following the February 1996 denial of his motion for post conviction relief by the Circuit Court of Forrest County, Mississippi.

¶2. The appeal presently before us is the latest in a long line of Court proceedings and cases dealing with Charles Sylvester Bell. Mr. Bell is presently serving two consecutive life sentences for separate capital murder convictions and one sentence of twenty-five (25) years as an habitual offender. The known facts of Mr. Bell's life of crime are well documented. See Bell v. State, 353 So.2d 1141 (Miss.1977); Bell v. State, 360 So.2d 1206 (Miss.1978); and Bell v. Watkins, 692 F.2d 999 (5th Cir.1982), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 843, 104 S.Ct. 142, 78 L.Ed.2d 134 (1983).

FACTS

¶3. In March of 1984, Bell was indicted as an habitual offender for unlawfully, willfully and feloniously, with malice aforethought, killing and murdering one D. C. Haden while engaged in the commission of the crimes of armed robbery and kidnapping in violation of Section 97-3-19 (2)(e) of the Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended. The crime occurred on June 22, 1976. Section 99-19-81 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, providing for the sentencing of habitual criminals to maximum terms of imprisonment, was enacted by the 1976 Legislature, effective from and after January 1, 1977.

¶4. Bell's original death sentence was overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1982. See Bell v. Watkins, 692 F.2d 999 (5th Cir. 1982). Following the overturning of his death sentence, Bell was re-indicted for armed robbery as an habitual offender in July of 1984. He entered a plea of guilty to armed robbery as an habitual offender. The State recommended life imprisonment, rather than the death penalty, for his capital murder conviction. The trial court accepted this recommendation and sentenced Bell to life imprisonment for the capital murder and twenty-five (25) years for the armed robbery. Bell has continuously, over the years, attempted to bring before this Court his contention that the trial court committed reversible error in sentencing him for armed robbery, arguing that this sentence constituted a double jeopardy violation since armed robbery was the underlying felony used to elevate the killing to capital murder. This issue is not germane to ...


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