SC's Death Row may lead to lengthy wait for criminals - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

SC's Death Row may lead to lengthy wait for criminals

William Bell Jr. (Source: SC Dept. of Corrections) William Bell Jr. (Source: SC Dept. of Corrections)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

South Carolina's Death Row houses 51 inmates and the average wait for a criminal's execution is 12 years, though one Upstate man has spent nearly 25 years there.

South Carolina's Attorney General Alan Wilson understands the emotional toll the wait can take on victims' families.

"I'm very empathetic to people, especially to victims who have to basically go through this process over and over," Wilson said.

William Bell Jr., 44, has been on Death Row since 1989. He was convicted of robbing and murdering Dennis Ray Hepler. Hepler had been working late at an elementary school in the city of Anderson, and had just been named the school's principal.

Investigators quickly tied Bell and three other men to the crime, two were sentenced to death and the other two were given lengthy prison sentences. A former detective for the city of Anderson, Layton Creamer, doesn't understand why it's taken so long to execute Bell.

"In a case like this, where there is no doubt that these are the ones who did it," Creamer said. "We recovered his wallet, fingerprints, detailed confessions."

Attorney General Wilson said the judicial process is a necessary evil, after sentencing there is a direct appeal automatically happens, then a series of seven appeals are possible through both state, federal and the Supreme Court.

William Bell is currently undergoing a mental evaluation, although there were no mental problems determined at the time of the crime, his condition may have changed after 25 years on Death Row.

If William Bell is found mentally incompetent, the law will not allow him to be executed.

Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Region 8 News</span><a class="customMoreLink" href="/Global/category.asp?C=4391" target="_top">More >></a>Region 8 NewsMore>>

  • Boom in business for liquor stores during the holiday

    Boom in business for liquor stores during the holiday

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 11:29 PM EST2017-11-23 04:29:06 GMT
    Wednesday, November 22 2017 11:36 PM EST2017-11-23 04:36:51 GMT
    (Source: KAIT)(Source: KAIT)

    Many families are hitting the road for the Thanksgiving holiday and during their travels, some may make a stop at liquor stores.

    Many families are hitting the road for the Thanksgiving holiday and during their travels, some may make a stop at liquor stores.

  • Diaz court system to merge with Newport

    Diaz court system to merge with Newport

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 11:29 PM EST2017-11-23 04:29:07 GMT
    (Source: Pablo)(Source: Pablo)

    Anyone who has business with the Diaz District Court system will soon have to take care of that business in Newport.  

    Anyone who has business with the Diaz District Court system will soon have to take care of that business in Newport.  

  • Authorities see multi-layered approach in mental health

    Authorities see multi-layered approach in mental health

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 9:22 PM EST2017-11-23 02:22:45 GMT
    (Source: KARK)(Source: KARK)

    Pulaski County Sheriff Doc Holladay said this week that his department keeps track of nearly 1,200 inmates in the Pulaski County jail every day, with a little over five percent of them scheduled to be somewhere else.  

    Pulaski County Sheriff Doc Holladay said this week that his department keeps track of nearly 1,200 inmates in the Pulaski County jail every day, with a little over five percent of them scheduled to be somewhere else.  

Powered by Frankly