Devante Bell, arrested in cabbie's killing, faces judge

2:20 PM, Dec 11, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Devante Bell told the judge that he wasn't the gunman, but that doesn't matter. Bell will stay in jail with no bond while police search for what's now believed to be two other people involved in the murder of cab driver John Dooley.

Bell, just 19 years old, faces an entire life locked up.

RELATED: Police make arrest in Yellow Cab driver murder

Tuesday morning, Judge Walter Heinrich reviewed the charges he's facing: first-degree murder, plus a charge that makes this cabbie's death seem even more senseless -- attempted robbery of less than $300.

Police say Bell confessed to calling for a cab Sunday night to set up a robbery. He told detectives he got into Dooley's taxi with two other people.

Bell said as the cab drove through Tampa's Sulphur Springs neighborhood, the man sitting next to Bell in the back seat shot Dooley. The car sped out of control. The front-seat passenger grabbed the wheel and steered the car to a stop near 18th Street and Eskimo Avenue.

Police say Bell then worked to wipe down the taxi.

John Dooley drove a taxi for 32 years and was one of Yellow Cab's most beloved and trusted drivers.

STORY: Murdered cab driver remembered for going extra mile

Prosecutors said Bell's first arrest came when he was 11 years old. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has his records back to age 14. 

They start with petit theft arrests in 2008 and 2009. Then, battery -- accused of pushing or hitting his mother at home. A month after that, robbery -- accused of snatching a cell phone. And a year later, another booking for battery, plus alcohol possession under the age of 21.

This brand new murder charge is, of course, the worst by far. Bell faces the possibility of life in prison, or, depending on the circumstances, execution.

Tampa Police continue their search for the two other people involved in the murder.

There's a $3,000 reward for information that gets them arrested; call Crime Stoppers at 800-873-TIPS.


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Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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