ORANGEBURG, S.C. – A 37-year-old Holly Hill man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of killing his grandmother.
Willie Bell beat and stabbed 78-year-old Anna Bell in her home, then set the house on fire in March 2006, prosecutors said.
An Orangeburg County jury deliberated about two hours Thursday before finding Willie Bell guilty of murder.
Bell had several outbursts during the trial, interrupting the judge during sentencing and standing up as his aunt testified Thursday, pointing at the audience, shouting: "They killed her. It wasn't me. They killed my mama!"
Anne Bell had been stabbed at least once and appeared to be beaten with a wood splitter found near her bed, according to testimony. A pathologist said she died before the house was set on fire.
Willie Bell was charged with murder after police said he sold his grandmother's car for $180 worth of crack cocaine.
The victim's blood was found on a pair of sweat pants inside the vehicle, prosecutors said.
Several family members testified on Willie Bell's behalf, including his aunt Anna Walloon.
"He loved my mother," she said. "That's why it's so hard to believe this."