The Post reports today that a D.C. man—Michael Dickerson—has been charged with killing his ex-girlfriend Shaquita Bell and burying her body in a forest in southern Prince George’s County on June 27, 1996. The Post further notes: “Dickerson, who is currently serving a 15-year sentence for assaulting Bell in March 1996, is also charged in the killing of Sean A. Thomas, whose body was found, with multiple gunshot wounds, in the 3000 block of Massachusetts Avenue SE on Feb. 17, 1996.” For more on Bell, go here and here.
Three things stand out in this bit of good news:
1) The case is over 11 years old. Cold cases like this don’t get closed very often. I recall cops years ago talking about this case. They had been out to those woods and still hadn’t been able to find a body. Police really wanted this case closed. [Bell’s body still has not been found].
2) Chief Cathy Lanier. The Post goes on to state that Lanier took a personal interest in this case after she became chief. It is heartening to see a police chief actually care about at least two of those old, unsolved murders. There are hundreds of unsolved murder cases in this city. That amounts to a lot of grieving families who have yet to find closure. The police should make these cases a priority.
3) Bell’s mother Jackie Winborne. She waged a massive campaign to bring justice for her daughter and deserves praise for her diligence. She told the Post: “I can put some closure on what happened to my daughter. I thank God for that. I’ve cried a lot of tears and I’ve prayed a lot of prayers.”