Trenton Jermaine Bell, 25, of Lebanon made a brief appearance Thursday in Wilson County criminal court.
Bell was charged with first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Wilson County criminal court Judge Brody Kane set Bell’s trial date for March 25-28.
“I wanted to set eyes on you before you came back in March,” Kane said. “There were a couple of things, I know that, I think there’s been some issues or some difficulties in the jail as far as behavior and that sort of thing from you, and I just want to make sure that you’re aware, of course, when the trail starts that won’t be tolerated in the courtroom. Do you understand that?”
Bell didn’t speak but nodded his head, yes. “He’s nodding his head affirmatively,” Kane said.
“I do reserve the right to use a shock device, if necessary, to put on you that I would use if you were to exhibit that behavior,” Kane said. “Hopefully it wouldn’t come to that, but I want to make sure that [you know] that’s a distinct possibility.”
Kane also said there were some complications with communication between the defendant and his lawyers. He told Bell it was his choice as to how effectively he communicates with his lawyers, but the trial would go on regardless in March.
Kane also told Bell if he were to cause difficulties during the trial, he does have the authority to remove Bell from the courtroom and have him tried without him present in the courtroom.
Bell was charged after Lebanon police officers found his girlfriend, Sydney Green, 19, of Lebanon, unresponsive in a bathtub in February 2015.
Bell reported Green’s death as a suicide in a call to Lebanon police. As detectives investigated the scene, they discovered the couple was apparently involved in a domestic altercation inside their apartment.
Detectives believed Bell killed Green in the altercation and then attempted to stage the scene to appear as though it were a suicide.
Officers administered CPR to Green at the apartment until Wilson County Emergency Management Agency paramedics took her to the hospital. She was pronounced dead at then-University Medical Center.
Bell has remained in Wilson County Jail on $2 million bond since his 2015 arrest.