Darrell Bellard convicted of killing two children, their mother and aunt in Md.
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJLA) - Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks announced Thursday that Darrell Lynn Bellard, 47, was been found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder and related charges for the 2010 deaths of Dawn Brooks, her two young children and their aunt, Mwasiti Sikyala.
According to police, Bellard - a marijuana dealer - killed the New Carrollton family of four because he believed Brooks and Sikyala were responsible for approximately 60 pounds of his marijuana disappearing, which Bellard brought with him from Texas to sell.
"There is no crime more heinous than killing defenseless children," Alsobrooks said. "I am proud of the hard work of our prosecutors and police officers who worked tirelessly to bring Mr. Bellard to justice."
On August 6, 2010, Alsobrooks said Bellard was driving around the area with Brooks, her two children and his girlfriend, Tkeisha Gilmer. When they returned to Brooks' home, Sikyala told Bellard that three masked men had come to the house, ransacked it and taken the marijuana, which Bellard had left in a cooler in the bathroom of the house.
Believing that Brooks and Sikyala had something to do with the disappearance of the marijuana, he marched them into the home and began to interrogate them. When they were not able to tell Bellard where the drugs were, he executed them.
Bellard and Gilmer were arrested the next day and charged with the killings.
Though Alsobrooks originally declared she intended to seek the death penalty against Bellard, she had to withdraw that notice and instead file a motion seeking life without parole when the state abolished the death penalty last year.
"We believe that Mr. Bellard deserves the harshest punishment under the law," Alsobrooks said. "When he committed these murders, the top penalty was death. Because that is no longer an option, we intend to seek a sentence of life without parole."
In addition to four counts of first-degree murder, Bellard was found guilty of four counts of the use of handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, and three counts of conspiracy to commit murder.
Bellard is currently scheduled to be sentenced on May 29.
Bellard's girlfriend, Gilmer, previously pled guilty to four counts of first-degree murder in November 2011, and testified against Bellard. She is facing a life sentence.
Gilmer's sentencing was originally scheduled for this Friday, April 18, but authorities said it is being rescheduled to a date yet unknown.