WINCHESTER — The alleged triggerman in a 2018 robbery/homicide was indicted on a second count of first-degree murder by a Winchester Circuit Court grand jury on Tuesday.
Edward N. Bell Jr., 24, is accused of shooting Jerry Wayne Reid in Reid’s Smithfield Avenue home on Dec. 23, 2018. The additional charge could make it easier for the prosecution to convict Bell, who is scheduled to stand trial on Oct. 4. Jurors could acquit on one charge and convict on the other.
First-degree murder charges involve premeditation. Heather D. Hovermale, acting commonwealth's attorney, said at the sentencing of Ronald Emmanuel Johnson last year that Bell shot the unarmed Reid twice in the chest after Reid grabbed Johnson. She said Bell and Johnson were trying to flee the home after a drug-related robbery went south. A man who was visiting the home opened fire on the robbers as they ransacked the house.
In 2019, Theodore Royal Summers, who was not accused of involvement in the robbery/homicide, pleaded guilty to dealing crack cocaine to people in the home on the day of the killing.
Johnson, 28, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years for first-degree murder. Also charged with first-degree murder are Xavian E. Bell, Bell's 23-year-old sister and the suspected getaway driver, and 19-year-old Rafael Sanchaez Lickey. He allegedly arranged the robbery after seeing there was a large amount of cash in the home while visiting it shortly before the robbery.
Last year, defense attorney Howard Jason Manheimer said Johnson wouldn't testify against his co-defendants, but it's unclear if the Bells or Lickey will testify against one another. On Aug. 30, attorney Louis T. Campola, who represents Edward Bell, filed a motion asking prosecutors to respond in writing about whether any prosecution witnesses are cooperating in exchange for leniency or considerations of leniency.
Reid, a 40-year-old father of one, was a tenant in the home. He was working at a warehouse for a plastics company at the time of his death. Friends and family described him as an easygoing and free-spirited.