After arriving in Maryland on a "business trip" to sell thousands of dollars worth of marijuana, Darrell Lynn Bellard flew into a rage when his cooler full of pot disappeared, prosecutors said. During a failed search for the drugs, Bellard killed two women and two young children, all shot execution-style, in a Lanham apartment.
On Thursday, a Prince George's County jury found Bellard, 47, guilty on four counts of first-degree murder in the 2010 slayings of 38-year-old Dawn Brooks, 41-year-old Mwasiti Sikyala and Brooks's son and daughter -- Shakur Sikyala, 4, and Shayla Sikyala, 3.
Well, hey, it sure is a good thing Maryland abolished the death penalty, because we wouldn't, ya know, want to be racist or anything (Bellard is black -- as were all four of his victims).
The story continues:
[Nicole] Gilmer [Bellard's girlfriend who participated in the drug deal and took the stand at trial] testified...that she stood guard during the killings and took photos of the scene at Bellard's command. In a soft, halting voice, she recounted the nightmarish events of August 2010, describing Bellard's interrogation of [Dawn] Brooks [whom Bellard suspected of being involved in stealing the drugs].
"He was yelling," Gilmer recalled, "asking if she knew where the drugs were, and if she set him up." When Brooks didn't answer, Gilmer said, Bellard grabbed a pillow, held it in front of Mwasiti Sikyala and shot her in the stomach and the chin. Brooks was "pleading to him, 'No, no, she didn't have anything to do with it,' " Gilmer testified. Bellard shot Brooks twice as well, Gilmer said, killing her. Then he went into the bedroom, she said, and fired three or four shots at the children.
But the boy [four year-old Shakur Sikyala] was still alive.
" 'Get . . . up, boy, you're not dead,' " Bellard said, according to Gilmer.
The boy got up and said he needed to urinate, Bellard's girlfriend recalled.
Gilmer guarded the boy as he used the bathroom. When he came back, Gilmer and prosecutors said, the child obediently stood on the bed while Bellard shot him -- twice.
The idea that someone like Dillard should be altogether and permanently immune from the only penalty that even remotely fits the cruelty of his crimes is -- or at least it should be -- beyond belief.