Two murder trials are slated this month in Concordia Parish, the first next week.
District Attorney Brad Burget said the trial of Darione K. Bell, 22, in a case involving the murder of three members of one family in Levee Heights, begins with jury selection on Monday, Oct. 12.
The second trial, that of Jimmy O’Neill Lewis, will begin Oct. 26. Lewis was one of two persons indicted in the murder of a teacher.
For the trial of Bell on Oct. 12, Burget advised that those who received summons for jury duty should review the documents to make sure they arrive at the right time. He said some received summons to arrive at the courtroom at 9 a.m. while others were asked to report at 1 p.m.
Burget said the jury selection process was implemented for safety purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said social distancing will be practiced and urged all to wear masks.
“You will be as safe as we can make you,” he said.
Darione K. Bell was indicted on three counts of first degree murder last February for a triple homicide on November 16, 2019.
He was also indicted on one count of aggravated burglary.
Bell stands accused of killing Rosie N. Hooper, 85, Johnny Lee Hooper, 67, and Ellis C. Hooper, 65.
The bodies of the three victims were found in their residence at 113 Weaver Street.
The suspect allegedly used a knife in the murders. The crime scene has been described as shocking.
Concordia Parish Sheriff David Hedrick, the chief deputy at the time of the murders, said Bell had been staying in a trailer near the victims’ home. Deputies found him there.
Hedrick said Bell had been identified in a burglary prior to the discovery of the triple homicide.
"The deputies started looking for him,” Hedrick said. “Meanwhile, a family member checking on her grandmother found the victims and called the sheriff's office."
Bell was additionally indicated on a charge of aggravated burglary in that “he did commit aggravated burglary upon Charles Lyles upon or about the 16th day of November.”
Bell has been arrested previously for aggravated assault with a firearm, burglary of an inhabited dwelling, criminal trespassing, theft of a firearm, felony theft and criminal trespass in September of 2016, and attempted second-degree murder, felony theft and resisting an officer (seven counts) in May of 2019.
Scheduled for trial on Oct. 26 on a charge of first degree murder is Jimmy O’Neal Lewis, 49, who along with Cedrick Tennessee, 42, both of Ferriday, were indicted for the June 23, 2019 shooting death of Fredrick McCray Jr., 27, also of Ferriday.
A .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol was used in the slaying.
Tennessee will be tried separately.
Hedrick said at the time that McCray Jr. died of a single gunshot. His body was found hidden under a pile of wood next to an abandoned building near Bayou Levee Road in Ferriday.
Hedrick said investigators believe McCray gave the two suspects a ride in his car and was shot during the commission of an armed robbery.
McCray was a teacher at Morgantown Middle School in Natchez.