Friday, March 27, 2009

Just Because A Guy Is Rich Doesnt Mean He Has Class

by Michelle Feuer

Rihanna’s battered face flashed me back to a case I worked on for CBS 48 Hours Mystery.

Twenty-eight-year-old Mary Heather Spencer, simply known as Heather, had that mysterious quality that made all men fall for her, plus she was gorgeous, smart, and kind. The girl voted “Most Beautiful” by her classmates could have gotten any guy she wanted, but she chose horribly wrong. For a year-and a half, Heather dated George Bell III (both pictured left), the third generation of the prominent Jackson, Mississippi family known for their carpet and rug business.

George was thought of as charming and intelligent by many who knew him, but things started going wrong in his life. His business was failing and his frustration led him to cocaine and steroids. In June 2007, he beat Heather so badly that she needed 57 stitches in her head. She refused to press charges against him. “She wanted to see the best in him, because that's the kind of person she is. She sees the best in everyone," said her mother. "She thought with her help, she could make him a better person." He went unpunished, but family members supposedly paid for him to go to rehab. The number of police reports was lengthy.

Just three months later, Heather was murdered by George Bell III. I watched in court as he admitted to kidnapping, sexually assaulting, then beating and strangling his girlfriend to death. He was sentenced to life without parole on the murder charge, and 30 years for the kidnapping. He cried as he read his apology statement to Heather’s mother, Linda Francomb, and Heather’s brother, Xan.

Linda Francomb, for a long time, questioned the involvement of Robbie Bell, George's own mother. In October 2007, Hinds County District Attorney Faye Peterson indicted Robbie Bell as an accessory after the fact, but new DA Robert S. Smith and the attorney general’s office dropped the charges in March 2008 for lack of evidence “after an exhaustive investigation and finally, discussion with the victim’s family,” according to the attorney general’s office.
On June 2, 2008 Linda Francomb filed a
wrongful death lawsuit against Robbie and George Bell III.

“During the late evening hours of September 10, 2007, and/or early morning hours of September 11, 2007, while Defendant Robbie Bell, George Bell, III, and Mary Heather Spencer were present, Defendant George Bell, III became enraged, and did violence to the person of Mary Heather Spencer,” the Francomb suit states. “Such violence inflicted severe, but survivable injuries upon the person of Mary Heather Spencer … (who) died as a result of the failure to receive treatment sustained as a result.”Spencer’s family has stated repeatedly that she did not immediately die after the attack, citing a coroner’s report that allegedly states she died six or seven hours after the attack. “Had aid or assistance been furnished to Mary Heather Spencer, Mary Heather Spencer would not have died,” the suit continues. The Bell response, however, states that Francomb has no evidence supporting the allegations that Robbie Bell was in the house when the crime occurred, or that Spencer was alive when Robbie Bell entered her home that evening. The response demands that any evidence to the contrary be produced, or Francomb’s suit should be dismissed. Because Spencer was already dead when Robbie Bell came home, the response says, Robbie Bell is not liable for Spencer’s death.

Today, Heather’s mom is trying to save other women from the same outcome. Please check out Linda Francomb’s new foundation: Heather's TREE (Training, Resources, Education and Empowerment) to combat domestic violence. "If I could help another young woman out of a relationship, make the right choices, give them opportunity to find way out…I want to help them anyway we can.”

Run, Rihanna, run.


FleaStiff said...

Well, the victim who received injuries massive enough to requir 57 stitches seems to have condoned the violence, but the family now complains that the assailant's mother condoned the violence by not summoning aid as the victim lay dying?
What duty to render aid did the assailant's mother have just because the attack took place in her home?
What am I missing here? The man who beat up the girl was bad. Okay. His mother was bad because she didn't summon aid? Well, I didn't summon aid either.

TxMichelle said...

What you are missing FleaStiff is that they suspect that she was more involved then just aiding after the fact. Also that she knew the girl was dying and did nothing. The problem is that they had enough evidence to come to that conclusion, but not enough to prosecute.
You seem pretty smart so I am guessing that you all ready understand that a civil suit is sometimes the only way to get justice for a crime. Especially for people with money. It hurts them.
A good example is O.J. Simpson.
If it were your sister or mother I doubt that you would sit by and let someone walk away just because they were partially involved. If you can't understand the need of the victems family to make all involved, regardless of degrees, pay then this post will be like talking to a brick wall.
Oh and as for the 57 stiches. I took from this that the family wanted her to press charges on the SOB. However, she did not want to and they cannot force her. It is sad that she was mistaken in her faith of healing through love, but that does not constitute your implication that she deserved what she got.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Fleastiff because it took place in her home - that makes her an accomplice. It would be different if this girl was a stranger on the street....then the Good Samaritan Law would apply and RB would't have a duty to help.

Anonymous said...

Fleastiff is NOT intelligent!!!!!

(major emphasis added)

Fleastiff in fact thinks that Susan Atkins is innocent of murder, even though she BRAGGED about the murder and she herself thinks she is guilty of it.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add, that Fleastiff doesnt recognize the difference between battered women syndrome, and the mindset and condoning. That in itself is ridiculous.

FleaStiff said...

A civil action is often a way to make allegations and to enjoy a standard of proof that is fairly low and to have evidence admitted that is rather prejudicial and inflammatory.
Maybe the mother was in the home earlier but if she did not participate in the attack what is her duty to summon aid for a social invitee? And how can the estate prove the mother actually arrived home and was aware of the attack?
"The Francomb suit alleges that Robbie Bell knew that her son had “severe personal and emotional problems … substance abuse disorders and addictions, and violent tendencies toward females,” and that Robbie Bell was aware of his drug use when he returned from rehab."
None of this was unknown to the victim when she chose to maintain her relationship with him.
The mother did not actively harm the victim who knowing entered the premises with full awareness of all dangers therein.

Levi Page said...

Fleastiff, I bet you think O.J. Simpson is innocent don't you? We all know you have a crush on double murderer SNOTTY Peterson.

FleaStiff said...

No, as a matter of fact its rather obvious that OJ character was guilty, he got off because of money, a stage-struck judge and a dumb jury.

I'm not sure which Peterson you are referring to, the midwest cop or the California playboy, but each are quite guilty.

Don't know what the relevance of any of this is to the topic, but ... .

HeathersMom said...

First, let me thank Michelle for posting Heather's story and bringing awareness to what we are trying to do, save other women from the same fate.
Secondly FleaStiff, some of her facts are wrong. My daugher Heather DID in fact, file charges in June 2007 for the first attack which took 57 staples ( comparable to apprx. 150 stitches). I flew home and took her to the police department myself. She did drop the charges in August, unbeknownst to me or her family, but by law, George still should have been arrested. They didn't need Heather's consent to do that. Also, Robbie, the mother, has admitted to coming home at 8pm the night before, "to what her son had done" and for over 13 hours she let my daughter lie in her own blood and die. She is NOT a doctor, how did she know Heather was dead? It's not her place to decide. As with any tragic event, there is much more to the story that I won't even get into. The pain our family and Heather's friends have had to endure can not be described, but I miss my beautiful, loving daughter every second of the day and will never understand why her life was taken so senselessly. I hope somehow we can help others in the process. Last year we raised $10,000 for women, donated to We are planning on this years' event now and hope to make it bigger each year.

FleaStiff said...

It is true that the police did not need the victim's consent to arrest her attacker but in all practicality neither the cops nor the DA will proceed if the victim is unwilling.
Although my crystal ball may be a bit cloudy, I would expect the mother knew the victim was initially alive and simply decided to avoid calling for medical assistance since that was the best thing to do for her son.
I'm sure you miss your beautiful loving daughter. I regret she dropped the charges, particularly now that I've learned 57 staples is the equivalent of 150 stitches.
Its difficult to understand how someone can be sweet and loving only to others.

Anonymous said...

"Its difficult to understand how someone can be sweet and loving only to others."

FleaStiff, why not look up battered womens syndrome? There are various psychological reasons once you have been abused. The abuser somehow makes you feel responsible for the abuse. It doesnt start with him beating the shit out of you on the first date. It starts with the slow erosion of self esteem for one. Physical abuse doesnt start until way into the relationship.

Nobody would go back to a guy who beats the shit out of them on the first date, in fact if that happened the abuser would probably be arrested on the first date.

dcheryl83 said...

Wow, Heathers Mother comes in and makes a statement and Flea STILL lacks any compassion. What is your deal? Are you as cold- hearted, cynical and full of hate and discontent in your real life? What exactly DO you care about?

TxMichelle said...

Thank you for coming in and clarifying what happened. I am sorry that you lost your daughter. I could not possibly fathom how that feels. As I said, I can understand that you would use every available resource to punish those responsible.
I hope you gain some victory and some measure of peace.

Kingfish said...

Fleastiff, let me help you out.

The mother got there that night. She was there all night while Heather's body lay in the house and blood was all over the place. She never once called the cops.

George LEFT around 7:30 AM to go kidnap the roommate. She DID NOT CALL THE POLICE WHILE SHE WAS ALONE FOR 30 MINUTES TO AN HOUR!!! George then kidnapped the roommate and brought her back to the home where Heather's body remained. Robbie THEN called George's uncle, a lawyer, to come over and help them figure out what to do.

She is guilty and its not even close.

Anonymous said...

Update on the story.