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Cape Girardeau man charged with double murder

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A police car sits in front of an apartment building at 401 S. Pacific St. where members of the Cape Girardeau Police Department investigate a fatal shooting Friday. Two people are confirmed dead in the shooting.
(Adam Vogler) [Order this photo]
An argument between neighbors escalated into a shooting that left two dead Thursday night at a Cape Girardeau apartment building, police said Friday.

Prosecutors charged Kenneth D. Bell Jr., 22, of Cape Girardeau, with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed criminal action Friday. A first-degree murder charge is applicable when prosecutors believe someone "knowingly" causes a death after deliberation.

Officers found Shannon D. James, 43, and Misty D. Cole, 39, dead from multiple gunshot wounds, Cape Girardeau County Coroner John Clifton said. Autopsies were performed Friday afternoon in Farmington, Mo., Clifton said Saturday, though results weren't expected for up to a month.

Kenneth Bell
Police responded Thursday night to an apartment building at 401 S. Pacific St. after a caller reported hearing gunshots and a man running from the area, according to police Sgt. Don Perry's probable-cause statement. Much of what happened that night seems to have taken place on the first floor -- police found the victims, already dead, in one unit and some potentially damning evidence in another rented by Bell.

A witness identified Bell as the gunman in a photo lineup, Perry said in the charging document. The witness also said he saw Bell and James get into an argument shortly before the shooting. James and the witness had been walking along Bloomfield Road, the witness said, when they happened upon Bell and the two engaged in a "verbal altercation." The police statement never explains what the argument was about.

The witness told police the next time he saw Bell, Bell had a gun. James was attempting to open his apartment door when the witness saw Bell coming from the rear of the building. Before he heard gunfire, the witness opened a door of the building and ran.

As he ran, the witness later told police, he heard two bursts of gunfire separated by a pause of several seconds.

Police said they found a handgun on top of a building that sits adjacent to the apartments. Perry, in his statement, said it matches the weapon the witness described, still loaded with one live round in the chamber and others in the magazine. Two open boxes of ammunition, scattered shells and an empty pistol holster were found in Bell's apartment and taken into evidence, Perry said.

Bell was taken into custody Thursday night when police responded to the area and found Bell hiding in an alleyway. Bell tried to run, police said, but he was apprehended after a brief foot chase.

Other officers found the two victims dead in the apartment, Cole lying in the open doorway and James just inside the door, not 10 feet away. Medical personnel were called to attend to the two, police said, but the two were declared dead by Clifton.

Police spokesman Darin Hickey on Friday said the relationship between James and Cole was under investigation. Hickey said police were not yet ready to provide additional details about the victims.

Bell has had legal troubles before. He had been sentenced to 120 days of shock incarceration in December 2008 for assault in Butler County, then released in April 2009 on probation. Paperwork indicating he had violated his probation was filed in January.

Court records also show Bell was scheduled to appear in court Monday in Cape Girardeau to face charges filed against him in October 2011 for illegally owning a firearm, possessing drug paraphernalia and operating a vehicle without a valid license. Bell remained is in custody at the Cape Girardeau County Jail on Saturday night in lieu of $2.5 million bond.

Bell is to be arraigned Monday at 11 a.m. before Judge Gary Kamp in Jackson. Prosecutors have not indicated whether they might seek the death penalty.

The victims mark the first to die by gunfire in Cape Girardeau County this year, and they were the most recent since the Dec. 16 shooting of Nicholas Gilbert.

The Cape Girardeau/Bollinger County Major Case Squad, a multi-jurisdictional team of police officers, was activated to work the case.

The investigation continued well into the early morning hours Friday. But the area was quiet again by Saturday. The yellow tape that had encircled the building had been removed and the half-dozen police cars that had blocked traffic were gone.

A man who identified himself only as the building's owner was seen going into the building Saturday afternoon, but he declined to comment.

"I'm just trying to get the place cleaned up," he said. "I really don't want to talk about it."

A check of Southeast Missourian archives showed the Pacific Street apartment building has seen its share of other crimes.

Resident Michael Lynn Temple, 36, was found stabbed to death with a steak knife in his apartment in 1995. Steven S. Shelby, who lived at 203 S. Pacific St., was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in connection with Temple's death. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

In 2005, several of the building's residents were displaced and a family living there lost its dog in a fire determined to be arson. As a result of the incident, Anthony R. Williams of Cape Girardeau was handed a seven-year prison sentence.

Two other incidents have a connection with the address but did not happen there. Debra Manning, who lived in the building, was murdered in 1983. She was found stabbed on Cape Girardeau County Road 249 northeast of Delta. The case never was solved. In 2006, a Cape Girardeau cabdriver who lived in the building was charged with felony sexual assault but charges were dropped after police uncovered evidence that invalidated the victim's accusation.

Managing editor Matt Sanders contributed to this report.





Pertinent address;

401 S. Pacific St., Cape Girardeau, MO

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Sadly it's Cape and this is what happens in Cape. I feel for the families and will Pray for them and thier lossed loved ones.. But I'm also glad I do not live in Cape!

-- Posted by footballfan29 on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 8:50 AM

It is not Cape. It is one section of Cape where crime against each other is rampant. You figure it out.

-- Posted by Thelegend on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 9:00 AM

And I am glad not to live where you do fotballfan29 !

-- Posted by CB1 on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 10:16 AM

It's not Cape. And it's not the police's fault.

Just the other day someone was complaining how a Sheriff is doing a poor job "managing crime". You can't "manage crime".

Criminals are around and will commit crimes. I'll await the facts from the paper when they're available to see if this is random or vengeance.

-- Posted by Dug on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 10:55 AM

its the people who live in that part of cape, cant do anything with them all drug infested filth.

-- Posted by bagman75 on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 11:40 AM

Matt Sanders I see you got

My voicemail.

-- Posted by gunn1217 on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 11:59 AM

Time to restore law and order in this country. People are going crazy and the good law abiding people are having to suffer from it. Support your law enforcement officers they cannot do it all by themselves they need help from the people. You see something suspicious report it.

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 12:12 PM

I am a out of town family member and found this news very disturbning this morning. Im praying that the people of Cape who are perpetuating these types of incidents would move towards GOD and HIS principles this is the only real lasting solutions that will make a true impactful change.

-- Posted by mepitts on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 12:56 PM


Yes. Thanks very much for the tip.

-- Posted by Matt Sanders on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 2:01 PM

I'm sure the gun control laws will keep this from happening further.

-- Posted by sasiemers on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 2:25 PM

Quick! Find out what kind of gun he used and ban it!

-- Posted by thewonder on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 3:15 PM

Sweeping generalizations is what we need now.

-- Posted by semotroll on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 3:18 PM

Yet another upstanding young man! I'm sure he followed all the proper rules in obtaining his gun. Thank goodness there are laws to keep these criminals in check!

-- Posted by whyowhy on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 3:22 PM

All the casino haters out there..do you think the casino caused this?

-- Posted by ugguggugg on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 4:04 PM

Why is he just now going to court on something he did in Oct. of 2011? Which of course he probably would gave been given a slap on the wrist.

-- Posted by scared of the future on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 6:08 PM

-- ugguggugg. You beat me to it. Though I would have added "morons" in my comment.

-- Posted by girardeaud on Fri, Feb 8, 2013, at 6:35 PM

What a tragic horrible occurence! Seems like this "apartment" building needs to be torn down, way too many people losing precious life to heinous acts. I hope the murderer is punished to the fullest extent of the law, eye for an eye. My heart goes out to the victims family. May God comfort them in this terribly difficult time.

-- Posted by AlannaDomnick on Sat, Feb 9, 2013, at 3:14 AM

"Seems like this "apartment" building needs to be torn down ---"

So now it's the building's fault? Oh well, at least you're not blaming the gun.

-- Posted by malan on Sat, Feb 9, 2013, at 8:52 AM

I agree. Tear down the building??? Such a knee jerk reaction like taking certain guns. The people who thrive and prey on others are the problem, not the landscape. The building owner knows exactly what type if people they are renting to and who they are going to attract in that part of town

-- Posted by Thelegend on Sat, Feb 9, 2013, at 9:24 AM

And the shooter is a convicted felon. He was not allowed by law to possess a gun. He possessed the gun ILLEGALLY!! Not like the normal citizens that have a right to possess a firearm.

-- Posted by Thelegend on Sat, Feb 9, 2013, at 9:25 AM

He probably bought the gun at.......THE CASINO!!!! LOL

-- Posted by ParkerDaws on Sat, Feb 9, 2013, at 4:51 PM

-- Posted by cartman89 on Sat, Feb 9, 2013, at 9:24 AM

Yes! ANd just like the Sandy Hook massacre not one of Obama's 23 executive orders on gun control and registration would have stopped this murder or those. Not one.

So why does he want to push all of this?

-- Posted by Dug on Sun, Feb 10, 2013, at 12:32 AM

AND how do you know this, Mr. Dug. How did Bell get this gun? Did he buy it at the Arena gun show? Did he buy it in the parking lot? (Which he wouldn't be able to do if the executive orders were passed)

Until we know whose gun he has, and where he got it, you cannot make your claim legitimately.

AND I want him to push "this", because two people are DEAD, and maybe,just maybe this could have been prevented.

-- Posted by Reasoning on Sun, Feb 10, 2013, at 7:32 AM

get the rope and hang him, maybe others will think twice before comminting another crime.

he is a waste of o2 anyway

-- Posted by bagman75 on Sun, Feb 10, 2013, at 7:42 AM

Good points reasoning, Dug makes many sweeping statements that lack legitimate proof. He in no way can presume what might have been at Sandy Hook, however, if only one life would have or can be saved through sticker gun laws, is it not worthy of discussion?

-- Posted by bball15 on Sun, Feb 10, 2013, at 10:23 AM

looks like a nice building to me i drove by and was impressed by how well it was kept. its a shame somthing so horrible happened in such a nice looking archatecturaly superb building. perhaps the southeast missuorian could use all of its expert help and rescources to do a more complete history of it i have heard that at one time it was actually a single family home of a very wealthy man and fouder of the city of cape

-- Posted by spaceback on Sun, Feb 10, 2013, at 8:01 PM

NoDisclosure must i say you are extreamly cold harted and wrong for your comment about Shannon James you could have kept that to your self especially without knowing what really happened you feel rested over a death of someone who was innocent? are you serious?

-- Posted by LostwithoutmyMOTHER on Mon, Dec 2, 2013, at 2:37 PM

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