Plainfield man sentenced to 25 years for killing infant son

A Plainfield man has been sentenced to 25 years in state prison for fatally beating his infant son nearly four years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Thursday.    

Michael Bell, 38, must serve at least 85 percent of that sentence before the possibility of parole under terms set down Thursday by state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield.    

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, assisted by the Union County Sheriff’s Office Identification Unit, revealed that Michael Bell struck his son 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.  

In March 2017, Bell pleaded guilty to a single count of aggravated manslaughter.