The wife of a cop killer plunged to her death after leaping off the roof of a California nursing home in May and did it as an act of suicide, it has emerged.
Nancy Jacot-Bell, married to Herman Bell – who was controversially paroled in April after gunning down two New York City officers in 1971 – jumped off the fifth floor roof patio of the Bayside Park retirement community on May 12, according to the New York Post.
“Anybody who commits suicide, that’s a terrible thing for any family,” Diane Piagentini, the widow of one of the officers killed by Bell, told the newspaper this week. “That is a shock.”
Jacot-Bell, 71, married Bell two decades into his 47-year sentence for the killing of NYPD Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones. The Black Liberation Army member had lured the officers, then 28 and 33, respectively, to an apartment building for an ambush attack, the New York Post reported.
Jones instantly died in the shooting while Piagentini pleaded for his life, explaining that he had a wife and two young daughters at home. Instead of sparing the wounded officer, who reportedly had been hit 12 times, Bell then used his own service weapon to finish him off.
Jacot-Bell’s death came just weeks after Herman’s release on April 27, which is still being appealed by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.
“The current parole process contains gigantic loopholes that allow murderous monsters like Herman Bell to game the system by concocting a phony story tailor-made for the new parole guidelines, which don’t place enough weight on the nature of the crime,” PBA President Patrick Lynch had said in late April.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the time said he disagreed with the parole board's decision, but added that he has no control over them.
Despite this, Bell now has been given the right to vote under a new policy that has gone into effect under Cuomo.
“How could he do something like that? This is a convicted felon. He killed police officers in New York,” Piagentini said in another interview with “Fox & Friends”.
The New York Post reports that Jacot-Bell and Bell have had two now-adult children together – and he is currently in Brooklyn.
A transcript of a March 1 parole board hearing viewed by the newspaper said Bell wanted to be released to California “where my family resides”, so he could take up a job as an archivist who would be “speaking at schools.”
Jacot-Bell’s death was ruled a suicide, the Alameda County Coroner’s Office said, and happened just three days into her stay at the facility.
She said in an interview with a San Francisco newspaper in 2008 that “my husband and I speak on the phone every night.”
Jacot-Bell, in an e-mail addressed to the New York State Board of Parole in 2014, pushing for Herman’s release, also demanded that it change their regulations.
“The cost of imprisoning millions of people is astronomical, and the waste of imprisoning many thousands of people who could survive successfully on the outside is unconscionable and deeply hurts multitudes of New York’s citizens,” she wrote.