PLYMOUTH — A Connecticut mother accused of killing her teenage daughter and wounding her 7-year-old son is scheduled to have a probable cause hearing on the charges Thursday.
But it is unclear if Naomi Bell, who grew up in Seymour, will agree to the hearing or if she will instead enter a plea to the charges during an appearance in state Superior Court in New Britain.
Bell, 44, was charged on Nov. 14 with murder with special circumstances and attempted murder with special circumstances in the shootings that police said occurred the previous day in her Terryville home. Bell has been held since her arrest on $2.5 million bond.
Defendants who are charged with a crime that could carry a life sentence have the right to a probable cause hearing, allowing a judge to determine if there is enough evidence for the case to move forward.
However, defendants usually waive their right to the hearing since any evidence or testimony presented could later be used during a trial. Bell’s public defender, Michael Isko, declined to comment on whether his client would proceed with the hearing.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Bell was twice hospitalized since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic while wrestling with depression and psychotic episodes, her husband told police.
Owen Bell told police he was afraid to leave his wife with the children and thought she wasn’t taking her medication, the affidavit said.
Bell said his wife “believed the Department of Homeland Security was circling the house and would come take her and the kids,” the affidavit said.
Bell said it seemed the pandemic deepened his wife’s mental health issues, especially as she was home all day with the children, according to the affidavit. But “never in a million years” did he think she would shoot the children, the affidavit said.
Her husband said she became depressed after the death of her sister in 2013, and “she did not spiral back from that,” the affidavit said. Naomi Bell was last hospitalized in October for 14 days, the affidavit said.
After the family had dinner together in the late afternoon of Nov. 13, Owen Bell said he took one of their children to a basketball game around 6:30 p.m., the affidavit said.
The child forgot his mask and water bottle, so Owen Bell said he called his wife’s cellphone to tell her they were returning home to pick up the items, but she didn’t answer, the affidavit said.
Owen Bell said he then called the home’s landline and his 15-year-old daughter answered, but she was screaming, the affidavit said.
“I just heard a horrible screaming,” he told police, according to the affidavit.
The child didn’t tell him what happened, but he could also hear the 7-year-old screaming as well, the affidavit said.
Neither child responded to his questions about what was happening, so he called 911 and raced back to the North Main Street house, the affidavit said.
Owen Bell arrived before officers and discovered his two children had been shot, the affidavit said.
He said he also found his wife and pulled the gun from her hands, according to the affidavit.
She was “saying she wanted to die,” Owen Bell told police, according to the affidavit. He then forced her out of the room and down the stairs into the hands of police who had just arrived, the affidavit said.
The 15-year-old was gravely injured and later pronounced dead at Waterbury Hospital, the affidavit said. The 7-year-old had been shot in the back, police said. When asked three times who had shot him, the child didn’t reply and only looked at the sergeant, the affidavit said.
“A bloodlike substance” was found on Naomi Bell’s hands, shirt and pants, the affidavit said.
She admitted during an interview with a detective from the State Police Western District Crime Squad that she had shot the two children, the affidavit said.
The children had noticed their mother was behaving differently, Owen Bell told police, according to the affidavit.
“I feel like I was in denial, because I’ve been at work and not there to see it,” he said.