Free George Bell
Free George Bell
Hello My Name Is Lance Bell and I am writing to petition on behalf of my brother George Bell who is currently incarcerated in New York State. My objective is have this petition forwarded to 1) Queens Supreme Court 2) Queens District Office and 3) The United States Supreme Court.
My older brother George is 42 years of age and has been incarcerated for 23 years, with no previous history of violent crimes, for a crime he did not commit! He has spent the majority of his life incarcerated and currently he is serving consecutive life sentences. The crime that he was convicted of took place in December of 1996. George was convicted by a jury of first degree murder, relating to a double homicide. The prosecutor's case presented against my brother was that a botched robbery took place which resulted in two deaths in our hometown of Corona, Queens. The prosecutors relied upon factors from a coerced statement, along with a video confession, that was a product of police intimidation by two veteran N.Y.P.D detectives. In addition, there was information from a long eye witness and a jail house informant. There was a woman who bumped into the suspects fleeing the crime scene. This woman never picked my brother out from the line up nor did she implicate him at trial. Another woman called 911 at that time and the descriptions that she provided did not match my brother. This information can be validated by the DD-5 submitted by the police. There still has been no murder weapon recovered nor was his DNA at the crime scene. Despite the fact that there has been zero physical evidence linking my brother to the crime, George was convicted. Judge Arthur J Cooperman presided over George's case, as well as the high profile Sean Bell case, and justice was not served in either!
One of the jurors asked the trial judge if she could visit the crime scene and was denied. Despite being told no, the juror secretly went to the crime scene and figured out why she was denied. When she made these findings, she bravely went to the police station and filled affidavits of her findings. She also wrote the judge a letter related to what she discovered. The juror also testified she was physically forced to say that my brother was guilty. From her discoveries it was clear that without a doubt George could have never committed murder. During an unethical hearing the juror was threatened with facing a year in jail, so she remained silent. Anything this juror uncovered when revisiting the crime scene was deemed inadmissible.
From a very age, my brother was always independent. He comes from a very loving and supportive family. Everybody gravitates to him because of his loving personality. This crime for which he has been charged is not a reflection of who he is or his upbringing. My family remains deeply hurt and saddened by his conviction. It still impacts us severely, holidays have not been the same since he has been wrongfully convicted. For two decades my brother has been serving a life sentence, while he could have been chasing and living his dream. He has missed out on all his young adulthood, all of his untapped potential, and unfortunately never fully got a chance to start and raise a family of his own.
George has remained in high spirits and has not allowed his sentence to be what represents him. Since his incarceration he has completed programs such as Alternative to Violence program (A.V.P), where he was a facilitator. He has been a trainer for the power lifting program and received a certificate for A.R.T (which is similar to A.V.P program but instead deals with anger management). He has completed a program called Pace, which is an AIDS awareness course. He has received a certificate in welding. He obtained his G.E.D and even went on to receive a degree in Family Law from Lehman College. Currently he is in a program called Rehabilitation through the Arts (R.T.A) Though he has spent the last two decades incarcerated, my brother has not let it defeat him. His favorite line is "don't become what you lift : a dumbbell. You have to educate yourself first".
My family and I sat in the court room during the trial and thought justice would prevail, however what we saw was a mockery of the justice system! Judge Cooperman acted in an unfair and unjust way. He ruined not only my brother's right to be free, but later on the memory of Sean Bell. With all the wrongful convictions coming to light, this is the perfect chance to tell the story of my big brother George. Please join the fight with my family, George and I. If we all come together, we can make changes to a bureaucratic system that has been broken for far too long. It is up to us, as the people, to unite in solidarity as a community we can make a change!