Press Release

For Immediate Release: March 16, 2017

A Plainfield man has admitted to killing his infant son nearly four years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Thursday.

Michael Bell, 39, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single count of aggravated manslaughter.

On May 10, 2013, Plainfield Police Division patrol units traveled to Bell’s home on Lee Place to find 4-month-old Zion Bell suffering from 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 and assisted by the Union County Sheriff’s Office Identification Unit, revealed that Michael Bell struck him multiple times in the head, causing his injuries, Holmes said. The day after the attack, with the assistance of NJ Transit Police and Amtrak Police, investigators located and arrested Bell on a bus bound for Iowa that had just left Newark’s Penn Station.

Zion Bell died of his injuries at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick two days later. A Union County grand jury returned an indictment against Michael Bell in September 2013.  

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for April 21, 2017 before State Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield, at which time the State will recommend a sentence of 25 years in state prison, with 85 percent of that term to be served before the possibility of parole.