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Frederick Bell to get another shot at freedom after newspaper technicality

Frederick Bell
Frederick Bell (Photo courtesy of MDOC)

After a newspaper technicality delayed his parole for 30 days, Frederick Bell will get another shot at freedom this Wednesday.

Bell, a Grenada man convicted of killing two people in May 1991, was originally set to be released from prison on Sept. 26. But due to a state law that says an inmate convicted of a capital offense cannot be considered for parole without a notice being published in the local newspaper beforehand, Bell’s release was put on hold.

According to Gene Bell, brother of one of the murder victims and no relation to Frederick, a public notice has since been run in The Clarion-Ledger, a move Gene finds odd considering The Grenada Star is the most-read newspaper in the county where his brother, Bert, was killed.

“I found it interesting that they ran that publication in The Clarion-Ledger,” Gene said on Monday’s edition of The Gallo Show. “I would say that less than one percent of Grenadians or people in Calhoun County receive The Clarion-Ledger. Personally, I don’t even know where to get one.”

Gene said his family reached out to Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s office to see if the parole board’s decision to print the notice in The Clarion-Ledger, which operates out of Jackson but circulates statewide, rather than The Grenada Star aligned with state law.

“It’s my understanding that the attorney general does not see where that is illegal,” Gene said. “However, they do think it’s possibly a little shady.”

Newspaper technicality aside, over 1,800 letters and emails have been sent to the parole board over the last two months asking members to deny parole for Frederick Bell. Elected officials that have urged the board to change course on its initial decision include Fitch, Secretary of State Michael Watson, Senator Angela Hill, among others.

The Mississippi Parole Board will meet on Wednesday afternoon. As of now, the time of the meeting is unknown.

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