Cold-Blooded Murder Or Mercy Killing? South Carolina Man Fatally Shoots His Father In Head on New Year's Eve

life sentence for son who argued mercy killing lawyer father
Source: First Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office; Mega

Aug. 13 2023, Published 3:04 p.m. ET

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A prominent attorney was killed inside his South Carolina home on New Year’s Day in 2021, and now his son will spend the rest of his life behind bars after a jury convicted him of murder.

On Jan. 1, 2021, Jason Bell, 51, fired two bullets into the head of his 76-year-old father, Jim Bell. He then left the body for his mother to find later that morning, The Post and Courier reported.

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Jim, who practiced law in Dorchester County for 48 years, suffered from pulmonary fibrosis. A respiratory illness, for which he received oxygen therapy.

Jason first told authorities that his father killed himself by shooting himself in the head. Authorities, however, quickly ruled his death to be a homicide.

Police found a revolver next to the body with two spent shell casings and investigators found two gunshot wounds to his temple, not one.

Jason eventually confessed to killing his father, but he told authorities, “I just wanted him to stop suffering."

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Jurors unanimously rejected the defense's argument that Jason Bell carried out a mercy killing — which he staged to look like a suicide — due to his father’s failing health.

During the trial and sentencing, Jason Bell didn’t address his family or the court, authorities said.

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Earlier this year, he rejected the state’s offer to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in state prison, according to The Post and Courier.

On Aug. 10, Circuit Judge Heath Taylor sentenced Jason to life in prison without parole.


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