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Chicago man dressed as meter reader to kill, blow up home of romantic rival

October 27, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Chicago man dressed as meter reader to kill, blow up home of romantic rival

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Chicago police say a man identified as Willie Bell disguised himself as a meter reader so that he could carry out the murder of a romantic adversary before blowing up the victim’s residence last year; prosecutors announced this week.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the 44-year-old Willie Bell was denied bail during his court appearance on Tuesday in Cook County, Illinois.

“The acts of this defendant were cold, calculated, and preplanned,” said Judge James Brown during the hearing. “The only reasonable order would be an order of no bail.”

Bell has been charged with first-degree murder and the attempted cover-up of 48-year-old Timothy Lawrence’s killing.

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According to authorities, Bell and Lawrence was dating the same woman before she broke up with Bell. (CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT)

Prosecutors allege that Bell and Lawrence were dating the same woman and that Facebook posts in the days leading up to the slaying showed that Bell had grown increasingly jealous over his adversary’s relationship with the woman.

In surveillance footage released last year, Bell was caught purchasing a worker’s helmet and a reflective vest at Home Depot, according to DNAinfo Chicago.

One week later, security cameras outside of Lawrence’s house show him arriving at the home wearing the work gear.

He was seen leaving the residence about an hour later with a wrapped hand and wearing a shirt that says “I’m that dude.”

Bell then got behind the driver’s wheel of Lawrence’s Buick LeSabre and used the man’s credit card to buy gas.

At approximately 12:30 a.m. on September 14th of last year, Bell was seen back at Lawrence’s home with an associate who was carrying gas cans.

About 15 minutes later, authorities received 911 calls reporting that Lawrence’s house was engulfed in flames. The residence ultimately exploded as firefighters were en route to manage the blaze.

Once the fire was extinguished, police discovered Lawrence’s scorched remains with a gunshot wound to his head.

Law enforcement officials eventually arrested and charged Bell after they linked phone records to Lawrence’s house and discovered his DNA in the victim’s car.

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