NORWALK (CBS) — A jury has recommended the execution of a South Whittier man for the first-degree murder of a girlfriend and three other people.
Cimarron Bernard Bell, 37, will hear his fate from a judge at a sentencing scheduled for June 21.
Bell was convicted on April 5 in the shooting deaths of Ineka Edmondson on Nov. 11, 2003 and the shooting deaths of Mario Larios, Edgar Valles and Fernando Pina on Jan. 27, 2004.
Co-defendant Briaell Lee, 28, was also charged in the slayings of the three men and is awaiting trial.
The Norwalk jurors deliberated 1 1/2 days before reaching a verdict. They also found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, murder for financial gain and murder while lying in wait.
Deputy District Attorney Todd Hicks told jurors during the guilt phase of Bell’s trial that Edmondson — whom Bell had dated — was involved with him in a check-cashing scheme gone awry. The 22-year-old Compton woman was shot three times in the head in her black Toyota Corolla, which was found in a mostly industrial area of La Habra.
“He accused her of skimming money from these accounts or outright stealing money from him,” Hicks told jurors, noting that the married man and father of a young son allegedly told another girlfriend that Edmondson had to go.
Bell met Larios, Valles and Pina after putting his car up for sale, but Hicks said Bell had no intention of selling the car. Instead of exchanging $8,500 in public, he told them to follow him home, where the three men were ambushed. Their bodies were found with their pockets turned inside out in the rear passenger area and the trunk of Larios’ leased white Mercedes-Benz. All three men were shot in the head and two of them were wrapped in plastic.
The murders were unsolved until Bell’s other girlfriend was arrested in a credit card fraud case in February 2004 and gave investigators details about the four killings.
One of Bell’s attorneys, Harriet Hawkins, questioned the testimony a former girlfriend, saying she did not cooperate until she was arrested.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)