Daughter: mother's death was drug related

Monday, February 11, 2013

Macey Legrand doesn't regret that she was in a Cape Girardeau rehab early Friday when word came that her mother had been shot and killed just hours before.

The 19-year-old said she is finally getting the treatment she needs to get her life back on track. So she doesn't regret where she was. In fact, she said, if her mother had managed to beat back her own demons -- in rehabilitation, 12-step-meetings, whatever -- then she most likely would still be alive.

That's because Misty Dawn Cole, according to her daughter, was an addict who had struggled for years to overcome substance abuse. Legrand said she and other members of their family remain firmly convinced that drugs were somehow a factor in the shooting that killed Cole and Shannon D. James, a man who Legrand confirmed was her mother's boyfriend.

"She lived a very hard life," Legrand said in a telephone interview with the Southeast Missourian. "Drugs were always in and out of the house. My mother's been in this very same place before. She was in and out of here from 2006 to 2010. She knew she had a problem. She wanted help."

The news, obviously, has been tough for all of Cole's five children, Legrand said. Cole had four daughters and a son, and each is doing their best to cope. For Legrand, she's trying to throw herself all the more into her recovery. One thing she doesn't want to do, she said, is to keep it all a secret, because she's heard many times at the Family Counseling Center that she's only as sick as her secrets.

She'd rather be open and honest so she doesn't have to meet the same end as her mother.

"I know I have to share my story, so maybe it can help somebody else," she said.

Police on Sunday would not confirm that drugs were involved in what police say is a double murder, which would be the first since the 2009 shooting of Jamie Lynn Orman and her 15-year-old son, Derrick.

Kenneth D. Bell Jr.

Roger Fields, interim chief of the Cape Girardeau Police Department, said that the Major Case Squad, investigators from multiple agencies, was deactivated with the arrest of 22-year-old Kenneth D. Bell Jr., who faces two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting, along with one weapons charge.

But that doesn't mean the investigation is over.

"They're still working and investigating to build their case," Fields said Sunday. "But they're not going to say a whole lot about what they know. Not yet."

Officers found James, 43, and Cole, 39, dead from multiple gunshot wounds in their apartment at 401 S. Pacific St. Bell, who lives in the same building, was arrested after police found him hiding in an alley and he tried to flee. Police also said they had a witness who saw Bell and James arguing shortly before the shooting. The witness also is said by police to have seen Bell, semi-automatic gun in hand, walking toward James as he tried to enter his apartment. The witness ran, he told police, and heard two spurts of gunfire.

Bell is expected to be in Jackson court at 11 a.m. today for an initial arraignment before Judge Gary Kamp. Bell, who has a criminal history with guns, remained in custody Sunday at the Cape Girardeau County Jail on a $2.5 million bond.

Legrand imagines it's something she's seen before. Her mother was strung out on meth for quite some time, she said.

"Probably fighting over drugs, or somebody not getting their money for drugs," Legrand said. "Mom was there at the wrong time. I guess they both were."

But James, to the best of Legrand's knowledge, didn't use drugs. He drank often, Legrand said, but he only tolerated Cole's drug use. He had even encouraged her to go to the Family Counseling Center when Legrand announced she was going. Her mother just didn't seem to have the strength, Legrand said.

"She always went back to the old neighborhood," Legrand said. "I know how it happens -- those places tend to suck the life out of you and make you go back to your old habits. I know my mom wanted to be sober. But it's so hard."

The old neighborhood, for the woman born Misty Pettit, was South Benton Street on Cape Girardeau's south side. It's where Cole's parents raised her and then helped Cole raise her children. Legrand, as a child, remembers feeling like she was practically raising her younger sister.

"She [Cole] was there, but she wasn't there," Legrand said.

She remembers swearing to herself that she wouldn't make the same mistakes her mother made.

Then, at some point, she began to drink, years before she would be old enough to legally do so. Later came marijuana. She felt the things she held dear slip away. Then, several weeks ago, she decided she would go to rehab. Try something different, she said.

Then came Friday morning's news, in a text from the boyfriend of one of her sisters.

"You know something like this could happen," Legrand said. "But I never thought she would go this way. I'm still amazed."

So, just two days after her mother's violent death, Legrand wants to transfer her mother's life -- and death -- into something meaningful. Legrand wants to share both of their stories so perhaps even one person may avoid those same pitfalls.

Legrand wants to believe her mother would have beaten those demons if she had lived. And if now it's too late, Legrand for sure wants to conquer her own.

"I'm done," she said. "I have to be done. I've made a really big change in my life. If no one else does, at least I can learn from what happened to my mother."



Pertinent address:

401 S. Pacific St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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