A Chicago man has been charged with first-degree murder after prosecutors alleged that he disguised himself as a meter inspector in order to kill the new lover of his ex-girlfriend, reported the Chicago Tribune.
Surveillance footage captured Willie Belle, 44, dressed as a meter reader approaching the South Morgan Street home of Timothy Lawrence, 48. In the fall of 2015, Bell and Lawrence were dating the same woman. However, in September the relationship between the woman and Bell ended so she could pursue an exclusive relationship with Lawrence.
According to prosecutors, Bell made several angry posts on Facebook regarding his ex’s new love interest.
Then, on September 5, Bell was seen at a Home Depot buying a reflective workman’s vest and helmet. Seven days later, Bell put on the helmet and vest, now with the words “Meter Inspector’’ on it, and went to Lawrence’s home.
Lawrence had a home surveillance camera which caught Bell walking around the house before Lawrence let him inside. Lawrence did not know Bell, prosecutors said.
About an hour later, Bell was captured by Lawrence’s cameras leaving the house. When he left, he was dressed in a T-shirt with the words “I’m that dude’’ printed on front, prosecutors said. Bell has photos on Facebook that show him wearing the same shirt.
Prosecutors said in court that Bell then got into Lawrence’s 2004 Buick LeSabre with a bandage on one of his hands. Records indicated that Lawrence’s credit card was used to buy gasoline at a nearby gas station.
The cameras then show Bell driving Lawrence’s car back home around midnight. Then he and another person exited the vehicle, said prosecutors.
Lawrence and the unidentified person then carried gas cans into Lawrence’s home and shortly afterward the camera shut off.
Around 12:40 a.m. on September 14, a witness phoned 911 to report a fire at Lawrence’s home. His home exploded while firefighters were on their way.
Officials found Lawrence’s burned body in a back room. He also had a gunshot wound to the head. The autopsy report revealed that Lawrence died from the single shot to the head. His death was ruled a homicide, prosecutors said.
Investigators found Bell’s DNA on the driver’s seat of Lawrence’s car. Also, cellphone records placed Bell’s in the area of Lawrence’s home on September 12 and 14, prosecutors said.
“The actions of the defendant were cold, calculating and pre-planned,” Judge James Brown said during a hearing for Bell. “The only reasonable order would be an order of no bail.”
Bell has been charged with first-degree murder and concealment of a homicide.
(Photo: Chicago Police Department)