Anthony Bell Found GUILTY
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It took jurors about two hours to decide the fate of accused killer Anthony Bell. Late Friday night, jurors unanimously convicted Bell on five counts of first-degree murder for the May 2006 shootings at the Ministry of Jesus Christ Church. Jurors were also unanimous when they convicted Bell on one count of attempted first-degree murder for the shooting of Pastor Claudia Brown.
After the verdict was read, members of Bell's family left the courthouse saying, "God is still in control." Some were in tears. Members of the victims' families would not comment to the media.
Bell represented himself in this bizarre case. During the course of the trial, Bell told jurors his ex-wife, Erica Bell, killed four people inside the church before taking her own life. Bell told jurors she did the shooting because he was having an affair with Pastor Claudia Brown. On the stand, Brown denied any physical relationship with Bell.
Jurors will reconvene Monday. Their next task will be to decide if Anthony Bell should receive the death penalty for his crimes or spend the rest of his life in jail.
There were fewer fireworks in the courtroom Friday and much more emotional testimony. Also, Bell's former employer says on the stand that he had knowledge of an affair between Bell and his mother-in-law. The alleged affair between Bell and his mother-in-law was pretty much the cornerstone of Bell's entire defense.
Earlier in the day, however, unspoken words rocked the murder trial for Anthony Bell. The gesture of a 7-year-old little girl reduces most of the jury to tears. Destiny Mills, daughter of Darlene Selvage, took the stand and was questioned by prosecutor Mark Dumaine. He asked her, "Destiny, who shot you mommy?" Without saying a word and clutching a teddy bear in her arms, she reached out and pointed right at Anthony Bell.
At that point, female member of the jury were in tears. One woman had her face in her hands, while others were grabbing for tissues. It was quiet throughout the courtroom. Later, the jury watched a video tape of Mills from a few months ago in which she described what happened. In that video, she says Anthony Bell was indeed the person who shot her mommy.
Many family members were in court with the little girl. A number of them wore buttons with a picture of Destiny with her mother, Darlene Selvage. The buttons read, "Team Destiny." We spoke with one of the witnesses, a former girlfriend of Anthony Bell. "I feel much better to let the jury know that... how he was when he was younger and if his mother would have got him help, maybe Erica would be here to raise her son," says Lekeria Coleman.
Stay with 9NEWS and www.wafb.com for the very latest on this still-developing story.
Reporter: Jim Shannon, WAFB 9NEWS