UPDATE: Muncie woman Morgan Bell was sentenced Monday to 55 years for murder and two years for obstruction of justice in the Department of Correction. Both counts will be served consecutively.
MUNCIE, Ind. — Jurors deliberated for about five hours before convicting a Muncie woman in connection with the death of her ex-boyfriend.
The jury found 28-year-old Morgan Bell guilty of murder (aiding, inducing or causing), a Level 1 felony carrying up to 65 years in prison. She was also convicted of obstruction of justice, which is punishable by up to 2.5 years in prison. Jurors acquitted her of conspiracy to commit murder.
Bell and her friend, Brandon Hodge, are both accused in the February 2021 death of 33-year-old Robert Eugene Scott III, Bell’s former boyfriend.
Police responded to the 2200 block of West Ninth Street in the early morning hours of Feb. 28, 2021, where they found Scott suffering from gunshot wounds. He died at an area hospital.
According to court documents, Bell and Scott had been in a domestic dispute in the days leading up to the incident. Bell told police she’d returned to his home with Hodge to pick up some personal items, including a wallet and an urn containing her child’s ashes.
Investigators didn’t find the items after searching the home.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Hodge told police he accompanied Bell because they feared Scott would become violent.
A witness said Scott saw a vehicle in the alley outside his home and went to check on it.
Hodge told police Scott hit the back of the car with something, causing him to shoot Scott, who jumped on the hood and tried to run away. He suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and back, investigators said.
Hodge said he fired at Scott because he thought he had a gun. Police found Scott with a pipe wrapped in black electrical tape.
Facebook Messenger and online searches provided investigators with additional evidence. During a conversation on Messenger, Bell wrote to someone that she was “just thinking about killing Trey,” referring to Scott.
She also searched “how to clean gunpowder from your car” on a friend’s phone. Hodge had used his phone to search “best murder defense lawyers in Indiana” and “attempted murder defense attorneys,” according to court documents.
A recorded conversation involving Bell, Hodge and a family member included a discussion about alibis, how to live with a crime and avoiding criminal prosecution, the affidavit said.
Hodge’s trial is scheduled for Dec. 4. He’s charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and obstruction of justice.