California convicted rapist arrested for murder just weeks after early release from life sentence: 'senseless'

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A convicted rapist in California whose sentencing judge argued he should “never get out of prison” was arrested in the murder of a Sacramento man just weeks after his release, officials said. 

Michael Xavier Bell, 36, was arrested this past Sunday for murdering a 60-year-old Sacramento care facility employee just 73 days after he was released early from a decades-long sentence, according to the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys.

Association President Michele Hanisee called his early release “tragically predictable” and said it resulted in “another senseless murder of an innocent victim.”

Bell’s release came amid the state’s effort to rehabilitate juvenile offenders not guilty of homicide back into society under Senate Bill 1391. The legislation passed and was signed into law in 2019 by then-Governor Jerry Brown.

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This file images shows California Attorney General Rob Bonta announce the arrest of 56 individuals involved in a scheme resulting in the theft of nearly $5 million from hundreds of people in a widespread mail theft and postal fraud operation. 

This file images shows California Attorney General Rob Bonta announce the arrest of 56 individuals involved in a scheme resulting in the theft of nearly $5 million from hundreds of people in a widespread mail theft and postal fraud operation. 
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Attorney General Rob Bonta and other California state officials “ignored impassioned pleas about how dangerous this legislation was to public safety,” Hanisee argued.

“There were no safeguards created within this legislation to protect the public from the most dangerous juvenile offenders such as Bell,” the associated president added. “Nor was there any mechanism for addressing the retroactive effect on convicted juveniles, like Bell, who had since become adults and who therefore could not be returned to the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system.”

“This is why Bell was released from custody without any form of supervision or services and apparently without having received any type of sex offender treatment or rehabilitation,” Hanisee also said. 

Nathan Hochman, a Republican running for California Attorney General, reacted in a statement to Fox News Digital 

This file image shows Attorney General Rob Bonta, Supervisor Janice Hahn, LA County Public Defender Ricardo García, and Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi listening to Shari Weaver, Director of the Coordinated Entry System for Harbor Interfaith, operator of the Tiny Home Village as she gave them a guided tour of the facility, in Torrance on Monday, September 12, 2022. 

This file image shows Attorney General Rob Bonta, Supervisor Janice Hahn, LA County Public Defender Ricardo García, and Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi listening to Shari Weaver, Director of the Coordinated Entry System for Harbor Interfaith, operator of the Tiny Home Village as she gave them a guided tour of the facility, in Torrance on Monday, September 12, 2022. 
(Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)

“Tragically, but as predicted, Attorney General Rob Bonta’s support for a bill that allowed Michael Xavier Bell, a convicted, brutal rapist, to be released decades early from his sentence only to arrested 73 days later for murdering a 60-year old Sacramento man, proves how unfit Bonta is to be our chief law enforcement officer,” Hochman said. “As a result of Bonta’s actions, the victim’s blood is on Bonta’s hands.”  

Bell was initially arrested in December 2000 after breaking into a woman’s home and sexually assaulting and raping her at gunpoint, according to court documents.

“Bell and an accomplice took turns committing sexual assaults, at times pointing a gun at the victim’s head and at times pointing the gun at the victim’s 8-year-old son, forcing him to watch,” Hanisee said.

At the time of the incident, Bell was nine days away from his 15th birthday. His age did not stop a state court from trying and convicting him as an adult in 2002 — a decision SB 1391 revisited.

This file image shows Mayor of Torrance George K. Chen, Attorney General Rob Bonta, and LA County Public Defender Ricardo García, during a discussion about establishing a homeless court inTorrance on Monday, September 12, 2022. 

This file image shows Mayor of Torrance George K. Chen, Attorney General Rob Bonta, and LA County Public Defender Ricardo García, during a discussion about establishing a homeless court inTorrance on Monday, September 12, 2022. 
(Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images)

“He was so dangerous and unrepentant that the sentencing judge stated: ‘It is this court’s intention this defendant never, never get out of prison. This defendant is incapable of being rehabilitated. This defendant is not someone who should ever be allowed into society,’” Hanisee wrote.

Bell was subsequently sentenced to a combined state prison term of 53 years to life behind bars for multiple counts of robbery, multiple counts of forcible rape, multiple counts of forcible oral copulation, kidnapping and assault with a firearm. After a lengthy legal battle, the sentence was reduced to 43 years to life.

This sentence was reaffirmed in Sept. 2016 when the case was appealed. Then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris represented the state in arguing to keep his lengthy sentence in place.

Court documents show Christopher Hawthorne, an attorney for Bell, countered by arguing that the “parole eligibility date at age 55 violates the equal protection and cruel and unusual punishment provisions of the state and federal Constitutions.”

The 2nd District Court of Appeal disagreed and affirmed the initial judgment.

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The Association claimed Bell remained unrepentant through his time in prison and had a violent in-prison record. 

“According to records filed with the court, he was twice convicted of new felony battery cases while in prison and had numerous disciplinary write-ups wherever he was housed. In his last years of incarceration, he was charged and convicted of felony vandalism of government property for smashing the windows of the visiting area. He was even written up for the rape of another inmate,” Hanisee said.

Despite the violent pattern, California officials ultimately chose to release him.

Fox News Digital reached out to Bonta’s office but did not immediately receive a response. 

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