Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 19,800+ case briefs...

United States v. Bell

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
819 F.3d 310 (2016)


The United States government (plaintiff) prosecuted William Bell (defendant), a prisoner held in cell 103 of a federal penitentiary, for the first-degree murder of Brian Pendelton, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1111. Pendelton was held in cell 105 of the same penitentiary. At the time in question, all the cells in Bell's cellblock were unlocked. Witness testimony and a video recording introduced at trial established that Bell, wearing a white t-shirt and holding an object in his hand, left cell 103 and entered cell 105. Bell's cellmate Lenard Dixon also left cell 103 and sat down in a chair outside and facing away from cell 105. At one point, Dixon turned to look inside cell 105. About 70 seconds later, Bell emerged from cell 105 and returned to cell 103. Bell was stripped to the waist and held his t-shirt in one hand and a long, slender object in the other. Dixon entered cell 105 and emerged about 25 seconds later. Pendelton crawled into the cellblock corridor, bleeding to death from a stabbing wound to his neck. Dixon stepped past Pendelton with a pile of clothing and a sharpened rod in his hands. Dixon took these items to the prison dayroom, where he stuffed them in a trashcan and covered them with other trash. Bell emerged from cell 103, once again wearing a white t-shirt, and proceeded to the prison shower room. Bell and Dixon conducted themselves calmly and unhurriedly throughout the incident. There were no signs of a struggle inside cell 105. The jury convicted Bell and he appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, contending that the government failed to prove the premeditation required for a first-degree murder conviction.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rovner, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 507,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 507,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 19,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial