Saturday, April 10, 1999

Minister's request for new trial denied




BY STEVE KEMME
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A Butler County judge rejected on Friday a request for a third trial for a Middletown minister who was convicted of repeatedly sexually molesting his daughter.

        Rev. Darrell Bell's attorney, Robert Bostick, argued that publicity before and during the second trial and one juror's familiarity with the Bell family tainted the conviction.

        He also cited seven other reasons why the Rev. Mr. Bell deserved a new trial.

        “These are not technicalities,” Mr. Bostick said. “He is entitled to due process and a fair and unprejudicial trial.”

        But Judge H.J. Bressler denied the motion and said there was no evi dence that the Rev. Mr. Bell failed to receive a fair trial.

        After the first trial ended with a hung jury on 13 counts and an acquittal on one rape charge, he was convicted March 3 of 11 sex charges.

        The Rev. Mr. Bell, 44, was accused of molesting his daughter, Dawn Renee Bell, 21, from the time she was 10 until she left home to attend college at age 18.

        He was convicted of three counts of rape, three counts of felonious sexual penetration and five counts of sexual battery.

        The Rev. Mr. Bell's stepdaughter testified at Friday's hearing that during the second trial she realized that one juror, William Miller, had been assistant principal at Vail Middle School in Middletown when she was a student.

        She recalled one incident when Mr. Miller had been “kind of rude” to her when he told her to leave an administrative office.

        She said during the trial, Mr. Miller looked at her as he left the courtroom and “put his head down.”

        Then Mr. Miller looked at Dawn Bell and smiled, Ms. Mayfield said.

        But Judge Bressler said if the defense had been concerned about Mr. Miller, the issue should have been brought to his attention during the trial.

        “There is no evidence that Mr. Miller did anything improper or that he recognized any party in the case,” the judge said.

        The Rev. Mr. Bell is to be sentenced next Friday.

       



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