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>>

  • From Wheelchair to the Boston Marathon

    From Wheelchair to the Boston Marathon

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 11:34 PM EDT2017-05-25 03:34:21 GMT

    In April, Williams Baptist cross country runner Alex Van Herpen competed in the prestigious Boston Marathon. An incredible feat. Learning about his path to get there, it stopped me in my tracks. Five years ago Alex was bound to a wheelchair. in January of 2011, he was diagnosed with strep throat, the flu and mono all within a two week period. For five months Alex was bound to a wheel chair. One day he just got up and walked. Medical experts had no explanation for any of it.  ...

    In April, Williams Baptist cross country runner Alex Van Herpen competed in the prestigious Boston Marathon. An incredible feat. Learning about his path to get there, it stopped me in my tracks. Five years ago Alex was bound to a wheelchair. in January of 2011, he was diagnosed with strep throat, the flu and mono all within a two week period. For five months Alex was bound to a wheel chair. One day he just got up and walked. Medical experts had no explanation for any of it.  ...

  • Traffic stop uncovers drugs, stolen gun

    Traffic stop uncovers drugs, stolen gun

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 10:40 PM EDT2017-05-25 02:40:17 GMT
    Eiichi Moore (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)Eiichi Moore (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)

    Jonesboro Police Officer Joseph Bransetter pulled over a car for no license plate illumination shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday. Bransetter said after coming into contact with the driver, Eiichi Moore, he noticed the smell of marijuana.

    Jonesboro Police Officer Joseph Bransetter pulled over a car for no license plate illumination shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday. Bransetter said after coming into contact with the driver, Eiichi Moore, he noticed the smell of marijuana.

  • Organizers switch to Plan B for Portfest

    Organizers switch to Plan B for Portfest

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 10:19 PM EDT2017-05-25 02:19:06 GMT
    (Source: KAIT-TV)(Source: KAIT-TV)

    Several people are gearing up for this year's Portfest Festival. But, the location has changed.

    According to Julie Allen, director of Newport Area Chamber of Commerce, they're moving this year's Portfest Festival to downtown Newport.

    Several people are gearing up for this year's Portfest Festival. But, the location has changed.

    According to Julie Allen, director of Newport Area Chamber of Commerce, they're moving this year's Portfest Festival to downtown Newport.

Powered by Frankly