Gruesome Homicide Suspect in Court

Wednesday, Jun 9, 2010  |  Updated 3:00 PM PDT
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Gruesome Homicide Suspect in Court

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A San Francisco man pleaded not guilty to a murder charge today  for the killing of 52-year-old Pearla Louis, the woman whose body was found  inside a suitcase floating in the San Francisco Bay last month

     After being arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court this morning  on one count of murder, Lee Bell, 47, was ordered held on $10 million bail.      Louis, also a San Francisco resident, was reported missing by her  family May 17. Her body was discovered the next morning in the water near the  Embarcadero and Folsom Street.
     Police arrested Bell on Friday. He was already in custody in San  Francisco County jail, having been booked May 21 for violating his probation  for grand theft, police said.
     Homicide inspectors have said Bell and Louis had a relationship  and that Bell had been accused of abusing her on prior occasions.
     Police have not released the manner of Louis' death or a possible  motive for her murder.
     "Our family is actually really happy that they found the person  that they believe did this to my mom," Louis' daughter, Ayesha Louis, said  outside court after today's hearing.
     Louis said her family is just beginning the healing process.
     "She still lives on, even though on May 18, her life was taken,"  Louis said.
     Bell's attorney, Douglas Rappaport, acknowledged the family's  suffering.
     "But I'm concerned when the family's concerned, because that puts  pressure on the Police Department, and that's pressure that makes me  suspicious of their investigation as to whether they really do have the right  person," he said.
     Bell is scheduled to return to court June 21.
    

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