Defendant Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter

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During a hearing March 22, the prosecution agreed to downgrade a defendant’s murder charge to manslaughter.

Rodney Bell pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for his role in the death of 32-year-old Kevin Thomas on the 4700 block of South Capitol Street, SW on October 19, 2018.

Per the terms of the plea agreement, the prosecution and defense agreed on a six year sentence. Contingent on the judge’s approval,  Bell, 42, is expected to be sentenced on June 7.

According to the prosecution, Bell was “actively” under the influence of morphine, fentanyl and PCP, a mind-altering drug, when he got into a car accident, killing his passenger in the process. Apparently, Bell was driving 98 miles per hour (mph) in a 25 mph zone when he struck multiple cars and a metal pole. The car then caught fire.

Thomas, who was in the front seat, was pronounced dead on the scene. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that he died from blunt force injuries.

Bell was hospitalized following the crash and suffered from a fractured shoulder blade and leg burns. According to the defense, Bell is scheduled to undergo surgery in May for injuries linked to the crash.

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