ELIZABETH, NJ — Thirty eight-year-old Michael Bell of Plainfield has been sentenced to 25 years in state prison for beating his 4-month-old son to death in 2013, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Thursday.
Zion Bell died of his injuries at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick two days after his father struck him multiple times in the head, according to the prosecutor's office.
On May 10, 2013, Plainfield Police Division patrol units traveled to Bell’s home on Lee Place to find the baby boy suffering serious injuries, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Bruce Holmes, who prosecuted the case.
A joint investigation involving the Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force and Plainfield Police Division, assisted by the Union County Sheriff’s Office Identification Unit, found that Michael Bell struck his son multiple times in the head, causing his injuries, Holmes said.
While Zion lay in the hospital, with the assistance of NJ Transit Police and Amtrak Police, investigators located and arrested Michael Bell on a bus leaving Newark's Penn Station headed for Iowa. In March 2017, Bell pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated manslaughter.
A Union County grand jury returned an indictment against Michael Bell in September 2013.
Bell must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before the possibility of parole under terms set down Thursday by state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield.