Photos of injuries to be shown at trial of accused kidnapper

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Defense attorneys call it a pre-trial victory for an accused kidnapper.

Parents of the children involved allegedly assaulted David Bell and his partner, and now that evidence will be allowed in the kidnapping case.

Wednesday's pre-trial hearing was set to consider evidence of David Bell's assault during his trial. State prosecutors withdrew their motion, which means photos of injuries Bell and his partner Dan Fair suffered will be seen in court.

A report from a medical professional about the state of mind Bell was in at the time he allegedly confessed to taking the children will also be seen in court.

"The photos, especially of DJ, show his state of mind when he gave a statement to the cops. His statement was very confusing and disoriented. That's because he had his head pounded into the pavement several times," attorney Robin Gustin said.

Bell is accused of kidnapping two of his neighbor's children during a 4th of July party last year. When the children were discovered at his house, the family of those children allegedly attacked Bell and his partner.

During the proceedings Wednesday, the defense also argued prior convictions of the family members who attacked Bell and Fair should come into play. It's a move the defense say could disprove their credibility as witnesses.

Gustin says neighbors are afraid of having pictures and assault evidence shown because it would incriminate them.

Roger Kraft, Bell's other attorney, said, "The state is trying to keep that information from coming into trial. They don't want the jury to hear that these guys are convicted felons for robbery, for assaulting police officers, for lying to police officers and entire list of offenses I can't go through right now."

Bell's defense attorneys also asked the judge to allow the jury, once it is selected, to know that Bell is facing two first-degree felony charges of kidnapping. If convicted, it could mean two sentences of 15 years to life in prison.

The state argued against that move, but the defense argues that the jury may not know the weight of the charge.

"We think it's important that the jury know he is charged with a first-degree felony, the same charge for murder," Kraft said.

It was also discussed in court whether or not the family members of the children should be appointed legal counsel in the case, given that they could still face charges for the assault depending on what is said during the trial.

The judge has set another hearing date for May 19. At that time he will come to a decision on the prior convictions, whether or not the jury will be allowed to know the weight of the charges, and if council will be appointed to the families involved.

David Bell's lawyers wouldn't let him talk, but after Wednesday's court hearing they say their defense was saved.

Story compiled with contributions from Whit Johnson, Mary Richards and Shara Park


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