TBA Law Blog


Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on Sep 10, 2015

The Tennessee Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for Rickey Alvis Bell Jr, who kidnapped, sexually abused and murdered a woman in Tennessee in 2010. Bell appealed his conviction and sentence after a trial court sentenced Bell to death for the first degree murder conviction. The Supreme Court, required to review all death penalty cases, reviewed five issues on the appeal, including Bell’s possible intellectual disability and the trial court’s decision to not include testimony regarding the husband of the victim's extramarital affair at the time of the crime. Chief Justice Sharon Lee and Justice Gary Wade disagreed with the majority on the issue of including the testimony of the extramarital affair, and Chief Justice Lee wrote in her dissent that the evidence against Bell was not overwhelming and the trial court hindered Bell’s defense by prohibiting him from presenting evidence of the victim’s husband’s affair. Read the opinion