The Commission on Capital Cases was not funded in the FY 2011-2012 General Appropriations Act, and the Commission ceased operations on June 30, 2011. This site and the Commission website are being retained to provide access to historical materials.

The Registry Attorneys will be continued by the Justice Administration Commission.

These actions are effective July 1, 2011.

Disclaimer: The Commission on Capital Cases receives this information from a variety of sources. The site will be updated consistently as information is received and will be audited bi-annually. We make every attempt to ensure the accuracy of the information provided; however, the information should be verified by the applicable court prior to using it for legal or statistical purposes.


Last NameFirst NamePictureDC NumberAgencyCase Summary
BellMichael 108426State/Registry, Federal/Pro SeCase Summary

Last Action

DateCourtCase NumberLast Action
9/10/2007USDC07-00860Habeas Corpus
8/28/2007USSC07-6420Writ of Certiorari
11/5/2007USSC07-6420Writ Denied
4/11/2011FSC11-6943.850 Motion appeal

Current Attorney

Last NameFirst NameCityAddressZipPhoneEMail
AndersonChristopher J.Atlantic Beach, FL645 Mayport Rd, Suite 4-G32233-3400904/246-4448Email


Last NameCase NumberJudgeCountyCCRCOrder DateContract Date

Last Updated

2008-01-09 11:43:13.0

Case Summary
Direct Links

The Commission on Capital Cases updates this information regularly

The Commission on Capital Cases updates this informationregularly.  This information, however, is subject to change and may notreflect the latest status of an inmate’s case and should not be relied on forstatistical or legal purposes.


BELL, Michael (B/M)

DC #   108426

DOB: 11/24/70


Fourth Judicial Circuit, Duval County, Case #94-9776

Sentencing Judge: The Honorable R. Hudson Olliff

Trial Attorney: Ward L. Metzger – Assistant Public Defender

Attorney, Direct Appeal: W.C. McClain – Assistant PublicDefender 

Attorney, Collateral Appeals: Christopher Anderson –Registry & Pro Se (Federal)


Dates of Offense:       12/09/93

Date of Sentence:       06/02/95



Circumstances of Offense:


Michael Bell was sentenced to two death sentences for themurders of Jimmy West and Tamecka Smith on 12/09/93.


Earlier in 1993, Michael Bell’s brother was killed byTheodore Wright.  The shooting was deemed as justifiable homicide becauseWright claimed he fired in self-defense.  Bell vowed revenge for hisbrother’s death and swore to friends and family that he would kill Wright.


On the night of 12/09/93, Bell noticed Wright’s car in thearea.  He gathered two of his friends and an AK-47 assault rifle he hadpurchased the day before, and returned to the area where he had previouslyspotted Wright’s car. Bell was unaware that Wright had sold the car to hishalf-brother Jimmy West.  Bell saw the car in the parking lot of a liquorlounge and waited for West to exit the club.  After a while, West, Smith,and another female left the lounge and started to enter the car.  Bellproceeded to the driver’s side of the car, opened the door, and fired atpoint-blank range.  West died immediately from 12 bullet wounds, and Smithdied from four bullet wounds while in route to the hospital.  The otherfemale managed to duck away from the spray of the bullets. 


Bell fired at a crowd of onlookers waiting outside the clubbefore he fled to his aunt’s house.



Prior Incarceration History in Florida:  MICHAELBELL DC# 108426


Offense Date


Sentence Date


Case #







1Y 6M 0D






1Y 1M 0D






25Y 0M 0D






25Y 0M 0D






6Y 6M 0D






6Y 6M 0D






25Y 0M 0D



Circumstances of Additional Murder Convictions:


NOTE:          Bell was convicted of thefollowing murders subsequent to the 12/09/93 murders for which he was convictedand sentenced to death.


On 09/25/89, Bell shot and killed LashawnCowart and her two-year-old son Travis.  The three were driving togetherwhen Bell stopped, exited the vehicle and opened fire on the mother andson.  Afterwards, an accomplice vehicle came and picked up Bell.


On 08/18/93, Bell shot and killed Michael Johnson, theboyfriend of Bell’s mother.  After the couple had an argument, Bell wentto Johnson’s house and shot him to death on the front porch.



Trial Summary:


09/29/94         Defendant indicted on:

                                   Count I:           First-DegreeMurder (Jimmy West)

                                   Count II:         First-Degree Murder (Tamecka Smith)

03/09/95         The jury found the defendant guilty on Counts I & II.

03/17/95         Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by a 12 to 0 majority, voted for the deathpenalty on Counts I & II.

06/02/95         The defendant was sentenced as followed:

                                   CountI:           First-Degree Murder(Jimmy West) - Death

                                   CountII:         First-Degree Murder (Tamecka Smith) – Death



Appeal Summary:


Florida Supreme Court –Direct Appeal

FSC #86,094

699 So. 2d. 674


07/19/95         Appeal filed.

07/17/97         FSC affirmed the convictions and sentences of death.

09/17/97         Rehearing denied.

10/17/97         Mandate issued.


U.S. Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of Certiorari

USSC #97-7044

522 U.S. 1123


12/08/97         Petition filed.

02/23/98         Petition denied.


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #94-9776


06/01/99         Motion filed.

01/13/00         Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC #SC00-318

790 So. 2d 1101


01/28/00         Appeal filed.

04/26/01         FSC remanded to the State Circuit Court to allow the filing of an amendedmotion.


StateCircuit Court – 3.850 Amended Motion (On Remand fromFSC)

CC #94-9776


10/03/01         Amended motion filed.

05/31/02         Motion denied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850Appeal

FSC #02-1765

965 So.2d 48


08/02/02         Appeal filed.

06/07/07         FSC affirmed the denial of the motion.

09/17/07         Mandate issued.


Florida Supreme Court – Petition for Writ of HabeasCorpus

FSC# 05-610

965 So.2d 48


04/08/05         Petition filed.

06/07/07         FSC denied the petition.

09/17/07         Mandate issued.


United States Supreme Court – Petition for Writ ofCertiorari


128 S. Ct. 535


08/28/07         Petition filed.

11/05/07         Petition denied.


United States District Court, Middle District –Petition for Habeas Corpus

USDC# 07-cv-00860



09/10/07          Petitionfiled.

01/15/09          Statemotion for summary judgment granted.

03/20/09          Certificateof appealability granted

10/25/10          Applicationfor certificate of appealability

01/21/11          Certificateof appealability granted


UnitedStates Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit – Habeas Appeal

USCA# 09-10782


02/10/09          Noticeof appeal; Application for certificate of appealability.

07/02/09          Appealdismissed.

09/01/09          Appealreinstated.

09/29/09          Grantingof certificate of appealability by District Court vacated


State Circuit Court – 3.850 Motion

CC #94-9776


12/02/10          Motionfiled.

02/28/11          Motiondenied.


Florida Supreme Court – 3.850 Appeal

FSC# 11-694


04/11/11          Appealfiled.  







Factors Contributing to theDelay in the Imposition of the Sentence:


Bell’s 3.850 Motion Appeal was remanded to the Circuit Courtfor an amended motion. The 3.850 Motion Appeal was pending from 08/02/02 –06/07/07. Additionally, Bell’s Habeas Petition has been pending in the UnitedStates District Court since 09/10/07



Case Information:


On 07/19/95, Michael Bell filed a Direct Appeal in theFlorida Supreme Court.  In his appeal, Bell argued that hiscourt-appointed counsel was incompetent and that the court failed to allow himto represent himself under Faretta v. California[1]. Bell also contended that the court falsely applied the cold, calculated andpremeditated (CCP) aggravating factor and failed to recognize certainmitigating factors.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the convictionsand sentences of death on 07/17/97.  The mandate was issued on 10/17/97.


On 12/08/97, Bell filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari inthe United States Supreme Court, which was denied on 02/23/98.


On 06/01/99, Bell filed a 3.850 Motion in the State CircuitCourt.  That motion was denied on 01/13/00. 


Bell appealed the ruling on the 3.850 Motion in the FloridaSupreme Court on 01/28/00.  The Florida Supreme Court remanded the case tothe State Circuit Court on 04/26/01, allowing an amended motion to befiled.  An amended 3.850 motion was filed on 10/03/01, which was denied on05/31/02.  Bell filed an appeal of that decision in the Florida SupremeCourt on 08/02/02.  On 06/07/07, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed thedenial of the motion on 06/07/07.  The mandate was issued on 09/17/07.


Bell filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in theFlorida Supreme Court on 04/08/05 that was denied on 06/07/07.  Themandate was issued on 09/17/07.


Bell filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the UnitedStates Supreme Court on 08/28/07 which was denied on 11/05/07.


On 09/10/07, Bell filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus in theUnited States District Court. On 01/15/09, the State’s motion for summaryjudgment was granted. Bell’s certificate of appealabilitywas granted on 03/20/09.


Bell filed a habeas appeal in the United States Court ofAppeals on 02/10/09. That appeal was dismissed on 07/02/09 and was reinstatedon 09/01/09. On 09/29/09, the United States Court of Appeals vacated theDistrict Court’s granting of certificate of appealabiltywithout prejudice against Bell’s future applications for certificate of appealability.


On 10/25/10, Bell again filed an application for certificateof appealabilty in the United States District Courtwhich was granted on 01/21/11.


On 12/02/10, Bell filed a 3.850 motion in the Circuit court.That motion was denied on 02/28/11.


On 04/11/11, Bell filed an appeal of the denial of his 3.850motion in the Florida Supreme Court. That appeal is pending.


Institutional Adjustment:  MICHAEL BELL DC #108426


DATE           DAYS            VIOLATION                                   LOCATION      

--------             ----                 ----------------------------                        -------------------

10/11/99         0                    MAIL VIOLATIONS                       UNION C. I.  

11/07/03         30                  POSS OFCONTRABAND              UNION C. I. 

03/20/05         60                  DISORDERLY CONDUCT              UNION C.I.  



Report Date:  11/19/01       ew

Approved:      11/19/01      ws

Updated:        04/14/11           jjk




[1] Under Faretta,a defendant is entitled to represent himself when he clearly expresses thisdesire to the judge and has been found competent to do so.