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Court upholds life sentence of man who shot, killed bystander sitting in car

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“I’m about to bust this n-----. Do you want me to do it?” But Mr. Stanquise Ramon Bell didn’t wait for his friends to answer before he fired at an innocent bystander who was sitting in his car at a traffic light, killing him.

Mr. Bell was convicted of murder, but years later sought to have his conviction overturned by claiming he had ineffective counsel. On Monday, his claim was denied.

The Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously upheld his murder conviction and life sentence.

There was “sufficient to authorize a rational trier of fact to find appellant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes for which he was convicted,” the opinion read.

The following details were obtained from court files:

On May 21, 2010, Mr. Bell, who was about 20 years old, went to a Redan High School graduation party in an open garage at the Shirewick subdivision off Panola Road in DeKalb County, according to briefs filed in the case.

Mr. Bell, who had gone to the party with three friends, was “wild,” “under the influence,” “slurring his words,” and had been “drinking and smoking,” witnesses told investigators.

At one point, he climbed up on a parked car and began waving a gun, yelling, “I will beat anybody up. I want to fight.”

When the party started getting out of hand, the owners of the house called police, and there was a mass exodus.

Mr. Bell got into a Chrysler 300 car with three others, and sat in the back passenger seat. Three other friends got into another car with plans to follow them to another party.

As the Chrysler left the subdivision and turned onto Panola Road, Mr. Bell held the gun out the back passenger window and fired two shots into the air.

That same day Mr. Anthony Carter attended an Avondale High School reunion off Panola Road. About 11:30 p.m., he called to tell his fiancé he was leaving the reunion and would not be late.

He was stopped at the red light on Panola Road and Covington Highway when the Chrysler pulled into the left lane beside him.

While Mr. Carter waited for the light to change, Mr. Bell said to his friends, “I’m about to bust this n-----. Do you want me to do it?” Two of his friends yelled, “No, no, no.”

But Mr. Bell put his arm out the back window and fired.

“The bullet struck Carter below his left armpit and traveled through his aorta, killing him, as his car drifted across the intersection and into a parked car at a gas station.”

“Go, go, go,” Mr. Bell yelled to the driver, and they took off down Covington Highway.

Their friends in the other car initially followed, then turned around and returned to the scene where two of them gave statements to police.

They identified Mr. Bell as the shooter. A month later, he was arrested in Athens on a fugitive warrant.

In September 2011, a jury convicted Mr. Bell of murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and he was sentenced to life plus five years in prison.

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