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Posted by: Brittany Sims on Jun 2, 2014

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

James M. Gulley (at trial), Juni Samrat Ganguli (at trial and on appeal), and James Edward Thomas (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rickey Alvis Bell, Jr.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michelle Consiglio-Young, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr. and Joe Van Dyke, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WILLIAMS

A Lauderdale County jury convicted the defendant, Rickey Alvis Bell, Jr., of felony murder in the perpetration of a kidnapping, felony murder in the perpetration of a rape, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated sexual battery. Following the penalty phase, the jury sentenced the defendant to death on the two counts of felony murder. The trial court merged the two felony murder convictions and sentenced the defendant to twenty years each for the aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual battery convictions. The trial court ordered the defendant to serve the two twenty-year sentences concurrent to each other but consecutive to the death sentence, for an effective sentence of death plus twenty years. On appeal, the defendant asserts that: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to strike the State’s notice of its intent to seek the death penalty because he is intellectually disabled; (2) the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions; (3) the trial court erred in denying his two motions for a mistrial; (4) the trial court erred in refusing to allow the defense to question the victim’s husband regarding an extramarital affair; (5) the aggravating circumstance codified in Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-204(i)(7) is unconstitutional; (6) the absence of an intent to kill renders the death penalty disproportionate; (7) proportionality review should be modified and the pool of cases considered in proportionality review should be broadened; and (8) the sentence of death is arbitrary and disproportionate. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.