Erica Bell trial: Court hears jailhouse phone calls

Local News
Medical examiner testifies in Erica Bell trial_88516540

The trial of Erica Bell, the woman accused of killing a three-year-old girl from Greece, continued Thursday. Bell is charged with second-degree murder in the death of her boyfriend Michael Stagles’ daughter, Brook, in November. 

On Thursday, Deborah Smith, Bell’s grandmother, testified. Smith says Bell admitted to hitting Brook in the stomach and asked Smith to take them to the hospital. Bell carried Brook to the car, but then Bell said she wanted to go get drugs on Clinton Avenue before turning herself in on another charge, Smith testified. 

Smith took Bell to get drugs and says that Bell injected the drugs in her arm in the car. Smith was ready to take her to jail when Bell said, “Let’s rethink this.” They picked up Stagles and then went the store to buy gifts for Bell’s sister’s baby shower. 

Bell showed Smith Brook’s bruises. Smith says Bell told her the bruise on Brook’s eye was from accidentally hitting her face on the faucet, and Bell had explanations for the other bruises. Smith said aside from the bruises, Brook looked like she had a flu.

Bell was arrested outside on a warrant during her sister’s baby shower.

Bell called Smith from jail numerous times. Recordings of the phone calls made were played in court Thursday. 

In one of the phone calls, Bell tells Smith to ask Michael Stagles not to take Brook to the hospital. In a later call after Smith informs her Brook died, Bell can be heard saying “I just killed a little girl,” and that “it’s not like I beat her every day.”

Brook Stagles’ pediatrician also testified that he never saw signs that parents Michael Stagles or Ashley Geer abused the child. 

A fellow inmate in jail was the last witness of the day, testifying she overheard Bell telling other inmates she wouldn’t have beaten the child if she hadn’t walked in on her doing drugs.

The prosecution is expected to be done presenting their case Friday. 

The defense maintains that Bell and Brook were victims of Michael Stagles and domestic violence. 

Michael Stagles’ trial will begin later this month.

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