Editorâ€™s note: Story contains some graphic details.
PLYMOUTH - A Terryville woman accused of shooting two of her children, killing one and seriously injuring another, was previously hospitalized twice for mental health episodes, causing her husband to â€śnot trust her with the kids.â€ť
Naomi Bell, 43, of 104 N. Main St., was arraigned before a judge in New Britain Superior Court Monday via a virtual hearing, during which her bond remained at $2.5 million.
She has been charged with murder under special circumstances and attempted murder under special circumstances in the fatal shooting of her 15-year-old daughter, and her 7-year-old son, who has been listed in critical condition. The children were shot Friday in their home before police were called there around 7 p.m.
Bell sat mostly motionless and did not speak throughout her hearing. She was represented by public defender Jassette Henry, who told a judge Bell wished to invoke her 5th and 6th amendment rights. The former guarantees a defendantâ€™s rights to remain silent and not say anything incriminating, while the latter guarantees the right to a speedy trial.
Bell is due back in court on Jan. 12 for a probable cause hearing - where prosecutors are expected to argue there is enough evidence against her to support the charges and proceed to trial.
According to the police report, Bellâ€™s husband dropped one of their children off at a basketball game in Bristol prior to the shooting. Realizing his son did not have a mask or a water bottle, the father gave the child his mask and returned home to get some water and another mask.
He called his wifeâ€™s cell phone to make sure she had the items ready, as he was worried about being late for his sonâ€™s game, but there was no answer. The father then called the homeâ€™s landline and his teenage daughter answered. According to the report, he heard â€śhorrible screamingâ€ť from the girl, but she wouldnâ€™t say what was happening. After hearing the 7 year old scream and still not getting an answer about what was happening, the father called police.
â€śThe thought that crossed my mind was [redacted] hurt (the two children), but I never would have thought she would shoot them,â€ť the husband and father told police.
The father frantically raced home, arriving before police, to find some blood in a bedroom, where his 7-year-old son was injured on the ground and his 15-year-old daughter appeared pale and lifeless, and the boy was suffering a gunshot wound to the back, the report said.
The husband then took a gun away from his wife, telling police later he believed she was going to kill the children before killing herself, as she said she wanted to die, the report continued. The husband forced his wife out of the room and downstairs as officers arrived.
The teenage girl was taken to Waterbury Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The 7 year old was taken to St. Maryâ€™s Hospital, in Waterbury, before being transferred to the Connecticut Childrenâ€™s Medical Center, in Hartford.
Bell was taken to the Plymouth Police Department, where police said she admitted to shooting the two children during an interview with a state police detective.
According to the report, Bellâ€™s husband told authorities his wifeâ€™s mental health started to really deteriorate at the beginning of the pandemic, as she would say Homeland Security was circling the house and was going to take the kids if she didnâ€™t surrender. He also said she has tried killing herself with a knife.
The husband told police Bell was in Bristol Hospital for psychiatric reasons for 10 days in April and another 14 days in October, and he didnâ€™t think she was taking the medication prescribed to her, the report continued. At times she would get â€śthat look in her eyeâ€ť like she was angry with him, but when he asked, â€śshe almost like snaps out of it,â€ť he told police.
â€śNaomi really changed at the beginning of covid with her depression and psychotic episodes,â€ť Bellâ€™s husband told police, according to the report. â€śSince the kids and [redacted] are trapped in the house and not working, I feel [redacted] relationship has been rough with the kids. It used to be balanced, now itâ€™s all doom and gloom.â€ť
The husband also told police he has a pistol and hunting guns, all of which he kept locked up in a gun cabinet, always keeping the keys with him, even when he showered, the report indicated.
â€śI was worried she would do something,â€ť the husband told police.
During the hearing Monday, Henry said her client worked for seven years in a research lab before becoming a substitute teacher.
â€śUp until a few months ago, she was a substitute teacher and she taught for about a year and a half in one of the local school districts,â€ť Henry said.
Court officials said Bell is currently unemployed and that she has no criminal record.
Stateâ€™s Attorney Brian Preleski noted Bell could face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if she is convicted.
Bellâ€™s 15-year-old daughter was a student of Terryville High School, while her son is a student at Fisher Elementary School.
During the hearing Monday, Bell was issued three protective orders that each prohibit her from having any contact with an unidentified individual.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.