Plainfield man admits to fatally beating infant son

Michael Bell Jr. in a more recent photo (Photo courtesy of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office)

A Plainfield man has admitted to killing his infant son nearly four years ago, according to Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park.

Park said Michael Bell, 39, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single count of aggravated manslaughter.

On May 10, 2013, Plainfield Police Division patrol units traveled to Bell’s home on Lee Place to find 4-month-old Zion Bell suffering from serious injuries, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Bruce Holmes, who prosecuted the case.

A joint investigation involving the Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force and Plainfield Police Division revealed that Michael Bell struck him multiple times in the head, causing his injuries, Holmes said.

The day after the attack, with the assistance of NJ Transit Police and Amtrak Police, investigators located and arrested Bell on a bus bound for Iowa that had just left Newark’s Penn Station.

Zion Bell died of his injuries at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick two days later. A Union County grand jury returned an indictment against Michael Bell in September 2013.  

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for April 21, 2017 before State Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield, at which time the state will recommend a sentence of 25 years in state prison, with 85 percent of that term to be served before the possibility of parole.


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