02/21/2009

Va. cop killer executed 10 years later

By Dena Potter
Associated Press

Related Article:
Cop killer gets temporary reprieve from death sentence

JARRATT, Va. — An inmate declared his innocence Thursday after he was forcibly carried into Virginia's death chamber, where he was executed for gunning down a police officer.

Edward Nathaniel Bell, who was convicted of killing the officer during a foot chase a decade ago, was pronounced dead at 9:11 p.m. Thursday at the Greensville Correctional Center.

When the door between Bell's cell and the death chamber opened, the inmate thrust his hips backward and wouldn't step toward to the gurney where the lethal injection was administered. Six stocky corrections officers pulled him through the doorway and lifted him onto the gurney.

"To the Timbrook family, you definitely have the wrong person," Bell said in the death chamber, addressing the victim's family. "The truth will come out one day. This here, killing me, there's no justice about it."

Bell's lawyer, who also witnessed the execution, said a sedative the inmate was given made it difficult for him to walk.

"Eddie's case is an example of how the system does not catch and correct errors," said attorney James G. Connell III.

Bell, 43, was condemned for shooting Winchester police Sgt. Ricky Timbrook as the officer chased him down a dark alley on Oct. 29, 1999.

At least 10 current and former Winchester police officers witnessed the execution, including Winchester Sheriff Lenny Millholland.

"I can't say it's closure but it's another chapter in the life of Ricky Timbrook and it ends the chapter that included Eddy Bell," said the sheriff, who was on the police force in 1999 and investigated Timbrook's death.

Bell maintained that he did not shoot Timbrook, a 32-year-old popular police officer, SWAT Team Member and DARE instructor. Prosecutors, however, say Bell was a flashy drug dealer who held a grudge against Timbrook for arresting him two years earlier for possessing a concealed weapon.

Bell was the 103rd Virginia inmate executed since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. Virginia ranks second only to Texas in the number of executions since then.

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