SNELLVILLE, Ga -- Gwinnett County Policesaid a stolen car and posts on the internet led them to a triple murder suspect in New Orleans.
Robert Bell, 33, was captured by US Marshals and Gwinnett County Sheriff Fugitives squads October 24, 2013, nearly six weeks after a triple murder in Snellville.
Three people were murdered in a home on Anderson-Livsey Lane on October 15th, 2013. Angelina Benton, 34, her son Joseph McDonald, 12, and her Godson Raynord Daniel, 19, died from multiple gunshot wounds. Benton's boyfriend, Justin Cato, 23, was shot in the leg and survived.
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Almost immediately, police labeled Robert Bell a suspect. Bell and his wife Danielle Hill-Bell, 22, moved into Benton's home two weeks before the murders. Benton met them at church and took them in because Bell had fallen on hard times.
Police originally thought Bell fled to one of three cities; Chicago, IL; Albany, GA; or Crossville, TN. But three investigative leads would steer them to New Orleans: a stolen pickup truck, a Craigslist ad and a YouTube video.
Two days after the murder the pickup truck was reported stolen less than a half mile from Benton's home. "That was suspicious to us but it wasn't until the beginning of October (October 2, 2013) that it turned up in New Orleans and detectives really started thinking it could be Robert Bell that had taken the truck," said Cpl. Jake Smith of the Gwinnett County Police Department.
Investigators found more links between Robert Bell and New Orleans. On September 7, one week before the murders, Bell posted a job wanted ad on Craigslist for him and his wife. The ad had a link to a YouTube video that shows Bell playing a bass guitar. He was looking for a job in New Orleans as a bass player in a church band.
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The ad expressed an urgent plea. "My wife and I are wanting to relocate to New Orleans Asap. So...I would need to establish us with a band that can offer us a weekly schedule of at least 4 days. I would also need a church to play for," the ad said.
Police said they are investigating whether Bell had planned the murders in advance. "It's possible, but we really don't have anything solid to say that he was planning out a homicide," Cpl. Smith said.
Once the fugitive squads established Bell could be in New Orleans they started looking in homeless shelters, because he was jobless. They found him at one and he ran, but didn't get too far before he was captured.
Bell is fighting extradition to Gwinnett County. Police said it could be weeks before he is brought back to Georgia to face murder charges.
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