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Posted by: Suzanne Craig Robertson on Sep 10, 2015

Head Comment: With Concurring and Dissenting Opinion Corrected version issued June 2, 2016.

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1:

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

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrée Sophia Blumstein, Solicitor General; James E. Gaylord, Senior Counsel; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr., and Joe Van Dyke, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): BIVINS

In this capital case, the jury convicted the Defendant, Rickey Alvis Bell, Jr., of two alternative counts of first degree felony murder, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated sexual battery. The jury sentenced the Defendant to death for the first degree murder based on four aggravating circumstances. On direct appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the Defendant?s convictions. The Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that the record did not support two of the aggravating circumstances but nonetheless affirmed the death sentence. We now address the following issues: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying the Defendant?s motion to strike the death notice on the ground that he is intellectually disabled; (2) whether Tennessee?s statute prohibiting the execution of intellectually disabled persons is unconstitutional; (3) whether the trial court erred in denying the Defendant?s two motions for mistrial; (4) whether the trial court erred by refusing to allow the Defendant to adduce evidence that the victim?s husband was having an extramarital affair at the time the victim was murdered; (5) whether the evidence was sufficient to support the Defendant?s convictions; and (6) our mandatory review of the Defendant?s death sentence. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the Defendant?s convictions and death sentence.