Man charged with killing romantic rival Timothy Lawrence, then burning down his home to cover crime

Chicago Sun-Times

Willie Bell | Chicago Police

Willie Bell | Chicago Police

A Morgan Park man who dressed up as a meter inspector and then went to the home of romantic rival Timothy D. Lawrence and shot him to death was ordered held without bond on Tuesday, according to prosecutors.

Willie Bell didn’t know the 48-year-old Lawrence, but had found out that they both had been dating the same woman, which prosecutors said led to Bell taking Lawrence’s life.

Cook County Judge James Brown called Bell’s actions “cold, calculated and preplanned.”

Chicago Police had released surveillance footage of a man they now say is Bell outside Lawrence’s residence two days before the home exploded last year. Once firefighters extinguished the flames, Lawrence’s badly burned body was discovered with a single gunshot wound to the head, Assistant State’s Attorney Bryan Grissman said.

Just days before—on Sept. 5, 2015—Bell was seen on surveillance footage at a Home Depot purchasing a reflective workman’s vest and workman’s helmet, Grissman said.

Surveillance picture of the man who is believed to have killed a Morgan Park man while dressed as a meter inspector. | Chicago Police

Surveillance picture of the man who is believed to have killed a Morgan Park man while dressed as a meter inspector. | Chicago Police

A week later, Bell showed up at Lawrence’s doorstep in the 10800 block of South Morgan wearing the helmet and vest, Grissman said. But now, the helmet had the words “Meter Inspector” written on it.

Surveillance footage shows Bell walking around the house, checking on things and then being allowed inside by Lawrence, Grissman said.

Once inside, Bell allegedly shot Lawrence. When he walked out an hour later, Bell, now wearing a shirt that read “I’m that dude,” was seen with a bandaged hand getting into Lawrence’s Buick LeSabre, Grissman said.

Bell’s Facebook account has pictures of him wearing the shirt that says, “I’m that Dude,” Grissman said.

Bell, of the 11000 block of South Homewood, used Lawrence’s credit card to buy gas at a station a day after the murder, Grissman said.

Then, on Sept. 14, around 12:30 a.m., Bell and another person drove to Lawrence’s home in the stolen Buick, Grissman said.

Bell and his cohort were seen taking gas cans from the car, Grissman said. Bell then used a key to get inside while the other person walked in with the gas cans.

Minutes later, the surveillance video outside Lawrence’s home was disabled, Grissman said.

Then at 12:43 a.m., a 911 call was made indicating there was a fire at the home.

While firefighters were on their way, the house exploded, Grissman said. Several accelerants were found inside, one under Lawrence’s charred body.

Cellphone records shows Bell was near Lawrence’s home on Sept. 12 and Sept. 14 of last year, Grissman said. His DNA was also found on Lawrence’s car’s driver seat and on a pair of eyeglasses inside the car, Grissman said.

Bell, 44, works as a truck driver and is a 1991 graduate of Steinmetz College Prep, an assistant public defender said.

The divorced father of one is charged with murder, concealment of a homicidal death, residential arson, home invasion and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

blog comments powered by Disqus