Murder-suicide suspect had lengthy criminal history
The 42-year-old man accused of killing his toddler daughter and her mother before taking his own life over the weekend had a lengthy criminal history, according to New Hampshire court records.
Jamie Bell allegedly shot to death his 18-month-old daughter Ariella Bell and her 35-year-old mother Nicole Hughes in Franklin on Saturday. He later took his own life, and his body was found on the banks of the Merrimack River.
Bell is also accused of shooting Hughes’ 5-yearold daughter from another relationship. The girl’s injuries were non-life-threatening, and she was taken to a Massachusetts hospital.
“I am reaching out regarding the tragedy that impacted our community yesterday,” the superintendent of Franklin Schools, Dan LeGallo, wrote to families on Sunday. “We grieve for the family and are grateful that the student involved is out of the hospital and recovering.”
Police on Saturday at around noon were alerted by neighbors on Elkins Street that they had heard gunshots. First responders at the scene found Hughes and Ariella dead from the gunshot wounds, according to Assistant Attorney General Adam Woods.
Through the initial investigation, police identified Bell as the suspect in the double fatal shooting. Bell and Hughes were “intimate partners” and were Ariella’s parents, the assistant AG said at a press conference.
Bell had been seen fleeing the neighborhood on foot, police said. Then at around 5:30 p.m., Bell was found dead on the banks of the Merrimack River in Franklin. It appeared that he died from a self-inflicted cut on his neck.
According to court records, Bell had a lengthy criminal history, including being sentenced to 18 months in prison for drugs and weapons charges in 2019.
The assistant AG was asked how Bell as a convicted felon was in possession of a firearm.
“I have no information to provide on that,” the assistant AG, Woods, responded at a press conference.
Back in 2008, Bell faced charges for driving under the influence, burglary, simple assault, criminal mischief, and obstructing a report of a crime or injury.
Then in 2017, Bell faced a criminal mischief charge. For that, he was sentenced to six days in jail, and he was fined $3,948.
A year later, Bell faced a litany of drugs and weapons charges. He ended up being sentenced to 18 months in prison, with 67 days time served.
“We will have counseling staff available to help students and staff at all 3 schools who need assistance,” the superintendent wrote to families. “Please feel free to reach out to the schools if you anticipate any specific needs for your students.”