Judge, family reacts to Colwell suicide - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Judge, family reacts to Colwell suicide

^ Inez Bell ^ Inez Bell
^ Judge Rucker Smith ^ Judge Rucker Smith
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January 14, 2003

Now Colwell's suicide comes as a shock to many, but not to the judge who sat on the bench during the trial, Rucker Smith. "I wasn't particularly surprised,” said Judge Smith. “He held that position from very beginning, that he wanted to die. He didn't have nerve to kill himself, but apparently he found the nerve, and succeeded in his goals.”

Defense Attorneys have criticized Judge Smith's decision to let Colwell stand trial and defend himself, and not enter an insanity plea, even though he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Smith says Colwell was found competent by 12 jurors before his sentencing, and Sunday night's suicide isn't causing him to have second thoughts about the way he handled the plea and sentencing. “The Courts found that I was correct, and I sleep comfortably at night knowing I made right rulings. It's a sad situation, but I did what I had to do.”

Smith says he feels sorry for both the Colwell and Bell families. We spoke with both of those families Tuesday.

Ellaville resident Inez Bell was Mickey Bell's sister in Law. She says she found out about Colwell's death from an obituary in the paper. She has mixed feelings about everything, but wonders why-- if all Colwell ever wanted was to die-- he didn't kill himself before targeting her family members. "It would have saved all of this, at least there would have been two more people, innocent people."

Like Colwell, Mickey Bell was also one of 14 children.

The Colwell family had no comment on Daniel's suicide.

posted at 4:50PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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