|Will Bell get the death penalty?|
Following less than two days of deliberations, a Norwalk jury today recommended that a Whittier man be put to death for luring would-be used car buyers to his home, then fatally shooting and robbing the men.
Norwalk Superior Court Judge Dewey Falcone said Cimarron Bernard Bell, 37, will be formally sentenced on June 21.
Bell was convicted on April 5 of four counts of first-degree murder with true findings on three special circumstance allegations – multiple murders, lying in wait and murder for financial gain – plus a special allegation of personal use of a handgun.
Deputy District Attorneys Todd Hicks and Michele Hanisee of the Major Crimes Division prosecuted the case.
The trial for co-defendant Briaell Michael Lee, 28, is slated to take place later this year.
Evidence presented at trial revealed that Bell lured victims Mario Larios, 23, Edgar Valles, 22, and Fernando Piña, 25, to his home through an advertisement in an auto sale magazine. The ad, which listed a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, was for the purpose of baiting would-be buyers, whom Bell intended to kill and rob.
On Jan. 30, 2004, the bodies of the three men were discovered inside a Mercedes Benz that had been left in a La Mirada parking lot.
Prosecutors said Bell fatally shot two of the victims and co-defendant Lee allegedly shot one of the men on Jan. 27, 2004.
Bell also was convicted for the Nov. 11, 2003, murder of Ineka Edmondson, 22. Victim Edmondson was one of defendant’s girlfriends. The two had partnered in a stolen-check-cashing scheme and Bell believed she was stealing from him.
Edmondson died from three close-range gunshot wounds to the head.