12 News Investigates: Inmate convicted of capital murder moved from Parchman to CMCF

12 News Investigates

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – An inmate convicted of capital murder has been moved from the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman to the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF) in Rankin County. The mother of the victim is uneasy with the decision of moving him to a medium-security prison.

In 2008, George Bell III was sentenced to life in prison for the death of his girlfriend, Heather Spencer. Her mother, Linda Francomb, said she will never get over the murder and the loss of her daughter.

“I’m trying to. I can’t come to peace with this, and I haven’t forgiven just yet either. It’s very hard for me. I am Christian. I am a forgiving person, but no one but myself and my family know exactly what he did to my daughter Heather,” she said.

Francomb remembers another occasion, when Bell attacked her daughter. She said her daughter needed nearly 60 stitches but dropped the charges against him. This incident led to September 10, 2007; the day Spencer was murdered.

“He told her he had changed, and he was a better person. He told her he wanted to go to church with her and make things right. Then, two days after he came home from that rehab is when he killed her, and so I don’t feel like he is sincere,” she said.

Francomb said this gives her reason not to trust Bell’s intentions. Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Burl Cain said he talked to Francomb twice. 

“She grasped he was trying to change, even though it can be counterfeit. We don’t know who people are, what they are. It’s kind of dancing with a bear. I say keep your eye on your partner at all times. So in his case, it’s what you got to do,” stated Cain.

While at Parchman, Bell graduated from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

“The camp was there, and so he in our opinion, he tried to be a model prisoner and try to do things right. We sent him to CMCF because we needed more of those field ministers. He is an influence on other inmates for good not for negative,” said Cain.

Francomb was notified about Bell’s move through a system the prison uses called Vine. She was notified on October 1, 2020, and was unsure why. 12’s Jade Bulecza asked Commissioner Cain if more information should be given out on a prisoner’s move.

He responded, “I’m going to check with our staff to see if we can’t do that and give a reason why we move, and see why we can’t give a reason for moving because that would be more pleasing. If she hadn’t been okay, I would’ve moved him back. Because it’s her feelings, she’s the one that’s offended, and we have to take care of that and take care of her first.”

Cain said he told Francomb that Bell will not be a trustee or out working on the streets. As far as Francomb, she has mixed feelings about the move. She said she will wait to see what happens over the next several months.

On Thursday, December 24, 12 News Investigates will have a full interview with Commissioner Cain on changes in the prison system.

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