Trial underway: Former 'Most Wanted' man in court for alleged killing of Weymouth woman

·2 min read

WEYMOUTH – A  man once on the State Police list of most wanted fugitives is facing a Norfolk County jury nearly five years after prosecutors say he killed his ex-girlfriend and fled the state.

Cornel Bell, 50, is charged with first-degree murder in the August 2017 killing of Michelle Clarke at her Lake Street apartment in Weymouth, the district attorney's office said at the time. He has been held without bail since his arrest in late 2019.

Michelle Clarke and her son, Aidan.
Michelle Clarke and her son, Aidan.

Bell's trial in Norfolk Country Superior Court started Wednesday with jury selection. Opening arguments were heard Thursday and witness testimony started Friday.

Police said Bell killed Clarke, 33, after she left her job as a bartender in Dorchester on Aug. 18, 2017. Police found her dead from "sharp trauma" in the early morning hours of the following day, after a friend called police before 4 a.m. and asked officers to do a well-being check.

Investigators said Bell left in a stolen pickup truck, which was recovered several days later by police in Florida, where he has family.

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Bell was added to the State Police's "Most Wanted" fugitive list in September 2017, followed by his indictment in October 2017. Police arrested him at a Florida construction site in September 2019.

State Police later said that Bell has a “long history of violent crime” and was wanted on two additional warrants under different aliases – one for assault with intent to murder in 1997 and the other for armed robbery in 2002. Police said Bell had Massachusetts driver’s licenses under at least four different names.

Cornel Bell
Cornel Bell

Clarke left behind a son, who was 6 years old at the time. She worked as a medical assistant at the employee health and wellness center at Linden Ponds, a Hingham retirement community.

Marcia Tyson, Clarke's mother, said her daughter briefly dated Bell and he was "obsessed" with her daughter when she ended their relationship.

The trial was originally scheduled to start last month, but Norfolk County District Attorney's Office spokesman David Traub said an expert was completing  Bell's psychiatric report and prosecutors were tracking down a witness for the case.

Read our earlier coverage of the Cornel Bell case

33-year-old Weymouth woman dead in apparent homicide

Slain Weymouth mom was 'fiery,' 'resilient,' ex-boyfriend says

Family still in fear 2 years after Weymouth mother's death

This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Cornel Bell faces jury in death of Weymouth mom Michelle Clarke