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Family Of Murdered YMCA Counselor Meets Family Of Alleged Killer

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The family of a murdered YMCA counselor faced their loved one's alleged killer for the first time in court Monday.

Derrick Bell, 19, made his first court appearance Monday. He is accused in the murder of Pierre Williams outside his home last month. Family members of both Williams and Bell were in the courtroom for the hearing.

"I can keep an open mind. I can keep an open mind, but I don't think the Raleigh police force would have charged him if they didn't have some evidence that he was the one that did it," said Edith Thorpe, Williams' aunt.

"I know that he would never do anything like this and he has said to us that he is not guilty, and that's what we are praying for," said Edna Bass, Bell's grand aunt.

The judge ordered Bell to remain in the Wake County jail without bond. His next court appearance is Sept. 9.

Bell was arrested Friday and charged with murder. He is accused of gunning down Pierre Williams, 19, outside his Raleigh home last month. Police believe the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.

Williams' grandfather, Rebie Partridge, said while the arrest brings a sense of closure, it is still difficult to deal with the loss.

"I am a forgiving person, but I've never had anything to forgive like this. That's why I say maybe in time, but not now," he said.

Court records show Bell is awaiting trial on a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Williams, a Wilburn YMCA counselor, a faithful church member and a mentor to his younger cousins, would have turned 20 last week.


Len Besthoff, Reporter
Chad Flowers, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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