Serial killer Edward Harold Bell (72), who is currently serving a 70-year sentence for 1978 murder of a U.S. Marine, has given multiple chilling confessions from his locked prison cell of abducting and slaying eleven teenage and adolescent girls in the 1970s, describing crimes even now unsolved.
Bell is serving 70 years for the 1978 murder of Larry Dickens, a Marine who confronted Bell after he exited his red and white GMC pickup naked from the waist down and began masturbating in front of a group of girls in Pasadena. Dickens’ mother watched from her house as Bell shot her son four times, emptying his pistol, then retrieved a rifle to administer a coup de grace. The “program” killings, as Bell calls them, began well before then. The victims were young girls from Houston, Galveston, Webster and Dickinson.
In disturbing letters sent to Harris and Galveston county prosecutors in 1998 — but kept secret for 13 years — Bell claimed to have killed seven girls, including two Galveston 15-year-olds shot as they stood tied up and half naked in the chilly waters of Turner Bayou. But in the latest interview given in September, he changed the number to 11, calling his victims “11 that went to heaven.”
He named three victims from 1971: Debbie Ackerman and Maria Johnson, 15-year-old Galveston surfer girls and experienced water skiers who disappeared after hitchhiking, and Colette Anise Wilson, 13, who never arrived home near Alvin after attending a summer band camp. In 1998, Bell described murdering Ackerman and Johnson in letters written from a maximum security cell in Huntsville 17 years after the crime. They were last seen accepting a ride near an island ice cream shop from a man driving a white van. Their abductor tied them up, stripped them from the waist down and left their bodies in the bayou, records show. Bell maintained his serial killings were an outcome of a brainwashing program that compelled him to act like a “flasher” and then rape and kill the teenagers, six of whom were murdered in pairs.
Galveston prosecutors refused to present Bell’s written confessions to a grand jury. Harris County prosecutors never investigated the claims and subsequently lost the letters. And Bell refused to cooperate with police. Several investigators said not enough effort was made in 1998 to re-investigate the cases.“If you could get me immunity from prosecution of any kind, I could lay a lot stuff on you and I will,” Bell told the newspaper.
“The investigation certainly remains open,” said Sistrunk, who now works for the Brazoria County prosecutors’ office, “and what we can count on is that because of the work of (Paige), those before him, and other area law enforcement agencies that may become even more involved, we will reach a point in time where sufficient evidence will be made available to law enforcement that will let the case proceed to a grand jury for justice to be served.”
-article from Houston Chronicle rewritten and adapted by admin-