Kristel Maestas was sixteen when she took part in a kidnapping and murder in Florida. According to court documents Kristel, fifteen year old Renee Lincks and seventeen year old Ronald Bell Jr would kidnap a man who allegedly made a pass at one of the girls. The trio would bring the man to a remote location where he was beaten with a bat, tied to a tree and set on fire. The trio came back the next day to find the man still alive so they slit his throat. This teen killer would be convicted of all charges and sentenced to life in prison
Kristel Maestas 2021 Information
|Name:||MAESTAS, KRISTEL R|
|Initial Receipt Date:||04/28/2000|
|Current Facility:||LOWELL C.I.|
|Current Release Date:||SENTENCED TO LIFE|
Kristel Maestas Resentencing
Long years of torment torment for the family of Cordell Richards ended Monday when Ronald Bell and Kristel Maestas were each resentenced to life in prison for his 1999 kidnap and murder.
In issuing his ruling, Circuit Court Judge William Stone notified both defendants that he had considered all the relevant factors in each of their cases, including their youth at the time and “all evidence relating to the offense.”
A former airman, the 31-year-old Richards had been missing for just over a month when, on March 4, 1999, a 12-year-old boy playing on an undeveloped lot in the Parish Pointe subdivision discovered his badly decomposed body.
Richards’ remains were found chained to a tree and burned. Assistant State Attorney Bobby Elmore would later tell a jury that just enough of the man’s fingerprints remained to allow for identification. Investigators learned that he had been horribly tortured for a full day before his death.
The resentencing of the pair, who killed Richards when Bell was 17 and Maestas 16, was ordered following a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court originally published on June 23, 2012. Justices ruled at that time that mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles were unconstitutional.
“The only thing I can say is my family and I are still just in shock we had to go through this in court, Reanna Richards, Richards daughter, said after Monday’s hearing. “I thank God the judge found the wisdom to rule the way he did.”
Both Bell and Maestas, who are now in their 30s and have spent more than half of their lives in prison, appeared in court for their sentencing.
Bell showed no emotion as Stone re-sentenced not only to life in prison for one count of first degree murder, but also to a consecutive live sentence for kidnapping with a weapon.
Maestas, however, openly wept during the proceedings. She will serve life in prison for the killing of Richards and 30 years consecutive to that for her role in the kidnapping, Stone said.
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Ronald Bell 2021 Information
|Name:||BELL, RONALD L JR.|
|Initial Receipt Date:||05/16/2000|
|Current Facility:||TAYLOR C.I.|
|Current Release Date:||SENTENCED TO LIFE|
Kristel Maestas More News
Ronald Lee Bell, Jr., was found guilty by a jury of first-degree murder with a deadly weapon and armed kidnaping with a weapon. Bell was seventeen years and ten months of age at the time that these crimes were committed. He lived with his parents and was a high school senior. The victim of both crimes was Cordell Richards and the crimes occurred on February 2 and 3, 1999. The testimony at trial detailed the following sequence of events.
On March 4, 1999, Richards’ decomposing body was found in a wooded area at the end of a cul-de-sac in an undeveloped portion of a housing subdivision in Okaloosa County. Richards’ remains, which were partially skeletonized and burned, were tied to a tree with a chain and a rope.
Dr. Michael Berkland, the medical examiner, inspected the remains at the scene and then performed the autopsy. Dr. Berkland found that the body was in an advanced state of decomposition and that there were multiple fractures to the head, which were the result of blunt force trauma. He also found injury to the victim’s shoulder blade, sternum, ribs, arm and wrist. Based upon the burn patterns, Dr. Berkland concluded that the burning occurred post-mortem. Dr. Berkland also concluded that the manner of death was homicidal violence with combined features of blunt force trauma to the head, body, and upper extremities, and probable chop injury to the left neck.
Kimberly Maestas, Renee Lincks, and Bell were all charged with the murder of Richards.1 Maestas and Lincks testified against Bell, and the testimony regarding the events leading up to the homicide of Richards came primarily from them.2 At the time of the homicide, Bell, who was seventeen, and Maestas, who was sixteen, had been dating for a few months. Maestas had been “kicked out” of her parents’ home. Maestas and Bell met Richards through a newspaper listing advertising a place to live, and Maestas moved into the extra bedroom in Richards’ apartment. Richards was thirty-one years of age.
Maestas testified that after she moved into Richards’ apartment, Richards made inappropriate sexual advances. Richards would come into Maestas’s room wearing only bikini underwear. One time Richards propositioned her for sex. Maestas testified that when she said “no,” Richards grabbed her shoulders and pushed her against the wall. She started to cry and asked him not to do that. Richards pushed her against the wall a second time and she hit her head. Maestas testified that Bell found out about Richards’ attack when he saw the bruises on Maestas’s back.
Lincks, who was fifteen, was a friend of Maestas, and came to the apartment to spend the night with her. That night, Richards asked Maestas and Lincks if they wanted to sleep with him in his bed. This made Maestas and Lincks uncomfortable, and so Lincks called a friend, who took them to Bell’s house. Bell later took Maestas and Lincks back to Richards’ apartment and left a baseball bat with them in case something happened. Later, Richards called Maestas and Lincks from his bedroom telephone and made statements that upset them, so they paged Bell and he came to the apartment to help them.
When Bell entered the apartment, he confronted Richards about his behavior towards Maestas and Lincks. Bell and Richards started pushing one another. Bell placed Richards in a choke hold and Richards lost consciousness. Bell told Lincks to get the bat and she gave it to Maestas. Maestas hit Richards in the legs with the bat. Bell told Lincks to get a rope from his car 3 and a blanket from Richards’ bed. Richards was tied with the rope, rolled in the blanket and placed in Bell’s car. Bell then drove to a wooded area at the end of a cul-de-sac.
Kristel Maestas held the flashlight while Bell and Lincks carried Richards into the woods. At some point they stopped, and Bell told Maestas to shine the flashlight in Richards’ face while Lincks asked Richards for his PIN numbers. Bell then told Maestas to hit Richards with the baseball bat, which she did, and Richards asked Bell not to kill him. Lincks also hit Richards with the baseball bat. According to Maestas and Lincks, Bell told them that they were not hitting Richards hard enough and so Bell hit Richards very hard and said, “Look, I’m Babe Ruth.” They then carried Richards deeper into the woods and tied and chained him to a tree. Maestas testified that Bell poured lighter fluid on Richards and set Richards on fire while he was still alive and groaning.
Bell returned to the scene a few more times. He first returned later that day with Kristel Maestas and Lincks to make sure that Richards was dead. Bell and Lincks went into the woods while Maestas waited at the car. Bell and Lincks could hear Richards yelling for help. When Bell and Lincks returned to the car, Lincks told Maestas that Bell had tried to break Richards’ neck. They left the scene and drove to a Target store where they bought a meat cleaver and duct tape and then returned to Richards’ location. Bell and Lincks went back into the woods, where Bell cut Richards’ throat. The two then returned to Maestas five or ten minutes later. Bell went back to the body again after he and Lincks decided that Bell had not cut Richards’ throat enough.
That night, a friend of Bell’s came over and helped to forge checks on Richards’ account. A few days later, they pawned Richards’ television and violin. About a week after that, Bell, Maestas and Maestas’s fourteen-year-old sister went to Richards’ location again. Richards was dead at this time. Bell poured gasoline on the body and started a fire.
On February 13, 1999, the police went to Richards’ apartment to check on Richards’ whereabouts after one of Richards’ friends told the police that he had been unable to contact Richards. The officers tried to get the attention of anyone who might be in the apartment by pounding on the doors and windows. When no one responded, one of the officers entered the apartment through a window. One of the bedroom doors was secured with a deadbolt lock and a towel was stuffed underneath the door. The officers knocked on the bedroom door and Bell opened it. Kristel Maestas was in a sleeping bag on the floor. Bell and Maestas appeared to be just waking up. They denied knowing anything about Richards’ whereabouts.
After the State presented its case, Bell waived his right to present evidence and his right to testify. The jury thereafter found Bell guilty of first-degree murder with a deadly weapon and armed kidnaping with a weapon
Kristel Maestas More News
Three teenagers charged with murdering a man by
burning him alive and then slashing his throat while he was tied to a
tree will be prosecuted as adults, a grand jury has decided.
The panel indicted the young man and two young women on charges of
first-degree murder and kidnapping Thursday in the death of Persian Gulf
War veteran Cordell Richards, 31, of Fort Walton Beach.
Okaloosa County sheriff’s investigators said the apparent motive was
revenge for alleged sexual advances the victim made toward one of the
Assistant State Attorney Bobby Elmore said prosecutors haven’t decided
whether to seek the death penalty against Ronald Bell Jr., 18, of Mary
Esther, and his girlfriend, Kristel Maestas, 17, of Fort Walton Beach.
The only other penalty for first-degree murder is life in prison without
The third defendant, Renee Lincks, 16, of Fort Walton Beach, was 15
when Richards was killed in late January or early February. The Florida
Supreme court has ruled that a person cannot be executed for a crime
committed when 15 or younger.
The three teens were removed from a juvenile detention facility in
Pensacola and taken to the Okaloosa County Jail in Crestview after being
A fourth teen, April Maestas, the 14-year-old sister of Kristel Maestas,
remained at the juvenile facility under a charge of accessory after the
fact to murder.
She is accused of helping her sister and Bell try to destroy evidence by
burning the body a second time about two weeks after the killing in an
empty lot. The body wasn’t found until about a month after the murder.
No decision has been made on whether April Maestas will be tried as an
adult. If so, she could get a sentence of up to 30 years in prison if
Deputies said Kristel Maestas, who was renting a room in Richards’
apartment, and Lincks lured the victim into a compromising situation so
Bell could knock him out by striking him in the head with a flashlight.
Richards was taken to an isolated area where he was beaten with bats and
sticks and set on fire. His throat was slashed once the fire was out to
make sure he died, investigators said.