Kidnapping suspect will face trial


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A kidnapping case surrounded by controversy brought out protesters as the accused man headed to court today.

Kidnapping suspect will face trial

A judge ruled there is enough evidence for David Bell to stand trial for kidnapping. He is accused of taking two small children from the house next door.

But it's what the children's relatives are accused of doing that's causing an outcry. They allegedly assaulted the suspect and his partner, leading supporters to call this a hate crime.

The judge today heard from the mothers of the two children who were allegedly kidnapped by David Bell after a Fourth of July party.

An emotional Lulu Latu took the stand first. She cried as she described finding her 2-year-old daughter missing from her home in the early-morning hours of July 4. She says instinct led her to Bell's house next door because Bell had been hanging out with the family that morning. When she went inside Bell's home, she says she heard her daughter crying and found the girl and the woman's 4-year-old nephew in Bell's bedroom with Bell and his partner.

Bell's attorney says some of the children's family members then brutally assaulted Bell and his partner, Dan Fair.

Megan Pedersen said, "It's obvious these men were beaten brutally."

They refer to Bell's mug shot after his arrest on kidnapping charges. This morning, outside the courthouse, protesters held up signs, showing pictures of Fair after the beating.

Kidnapping suspect will face trial

Prosecutors did not file assault charges against anyone for lack of evidence.

Pedersen said, "It's a disgrace that our county and our community is sending the message that this kind of violence is accepted, and it's not right."

Kidnapping suspect will face trial

A South Salt Lake detective testified that during a police interview, Bell admitted to taking the kids. He said Bell later changed his story, saying the children came over on their own.

Bell's attorney says the parents were drinking outside, and no one ever saw Bell go into the neighbor's house or take the children.

A supporter named Cary said, "It's just something that's not in his character to do."

Bell's friends call this a hate crime. They say Fair plans to file a civil suit against his attackers.

The 4-year-old's mother has hired an attorney, Clayton Simms. He says Lisa Aiono reacted as any mother would.

"Lisa knew that he was in a homosexual relationship and didn't have a problem with that. She understood he was a homosexual and continued to hang out with him," Simms said.

We could not get a hold of the South Salt Lake Attorney to find out whether misdemeanor charges will be filed against the childrens' relatives. Bell's partner plans to tell his side of the story during a fundraiser for Bell on Monday night.

Bell will be back in court next month.

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Sandra Yi

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