State of Oklahoma v. Barbara Lynn Bell

Court:Tulsa County District Court
Case No:DF-93-0479
Defendent:Barbara Lynn Bell
Prosecutors:Jay Holtzhauser - Deputy District Attorney, S.M. Fallis Jr. - Special Appointed Prosecutor
Experts:Dr. George Brenner - Pharmacology, Dr. Reese Price - Shock and Trauma, Ron Singer - Criminology, Richard Stengle - Firearm Forensics, Arthur Linville - Criminology

On January 22, 1993, Dr. David Bell was shot once in the forehead at his home. The next day, his wife, Barbara Bell was jailed and charged with first-degree murder. Prior to this firm’s involvement, Barbara Bell was tried and convicted for second-degree murder by a jury and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Thereafter, Mrs. Bell served two years in prison before the State Court of Criminal Appeals, in 1995, overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial based on a “presumed guilty” instruction routinely offered by the trial judge. Her case was one of many convictions that were overturned on this basis. The State sought re-trial of the matter and this firm was retained to defend her at the second trial.
Outcome: On the Saturday before the retrial was to begin, the State offered a plea. Mrs. Bell accepted and entered an Alford plea. Mrs. Bell plead to first degree manslaughter and was sentenced by the Judge to an 18 year prison term, giving Mrs. Bell credit for 4 1/2 years of time already served. The Judge ordered the remainder of the sentence (13 1/2 years) to be served as unsupervised probation.