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June 01, 2023

Slidell Man Sentenced to Life in Prison as a Habitual Offender

District Attorney Warren Montgomery reports that on June 1, 2023, Christopher “Winky” Bell, Jr., age 36 and of Slidell, was sentenced by District Judge Vincent Lobello to life in prison without the benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence after a jury found him guilty of second-degree battery in March of 2023.

The criminal act which brought him before the Judge for sentencing as a multiple offender occurred on May 27, 2019. The defendant had been arrested the previous day on charges of possessing firearms while a convicted felon. The defendant was booked into the parish jail and placed in a holding cell with other recent arrestees. The following day, officers at the St. Tammany Parish jail responded to a disturbance in the holding cell. Upon arrival, officers observed the victim breathing heavily with bleeding wounds on his face. He reported that he was attacked by the defendant while he was asleep on the holding cell floor. Both inmates were taken to the jail medical department for evaluation. The victim could not move his mouth without severe pain and was transported to the hospital. There, the victim was diagnosed with a broken jaw and surgery was performed a few days later.

Officers reviewed video from the jail’s surveillance system and determined that the defendant was the aggressor and struck the victim without justification. The video showed that, while the victim was laying on the floor sleeping, the victim adjusted his blanket and when the blanket touched the defendant, he stood over the victim and began to attack him.

During the defendant’s trial, prosecutors presented testimony from the victim who testified that he suffered severe pain, had surgery to wire his jaw shut, could not eat solid food for months, and had to have several teeth removed. The State was able to show jail video footage of the incident as well as two more jail videos of additional incidents where Bell played a role in assaulting other inmates, causing serious harm. The victim’s attending physician from University Medical Center testified as an expert in Emergency Medicine and stated that he observed the surveillance video and that the injury to the victim was consistent with the actions and force employed by the defendant.

Bell has multiple prior convictions that include possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, obstruction of justice, aggravated battery, illegal possession of stolen things, possession of cocaine and aggravated criminal damage to property.

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The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Tiffany Dover and Taylor Nicholson.

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