Police arrest Weymouth murder suspect in Florida

The man police say is responsible for the death of a mother in Weymouth two years ago was arrested in Florida Wednesday and is awaiting return to Massachusetts for trial.

Cornel Bell, 48, was apprehended by U.S. Marshals and Florida police officers after they chased him from a construction site north of Miami, according to Massachusetts State Police.

“The Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section has been working closely with the United States Marshal Service, identifying and following any trace of his whereabouts. Today that paid off,” Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said in a statement.

Bell was indicted in October 2017 on a charge that he killed his estranged girlfriend Michelle Clarke, 33, in her apartment, according to Morrissey’s office.

DA spokesman David Traub said Clarke was found dead inside her Lake Street home in the early morning of Aug. 19, 2017, after officers received a call from a friend who was concerned about her well-being. He said investigators found evidence of “sharp injury and trauma.”

“We released the model and registration of a dark blue pickup truck he was believed to be driving, and that vehicle was eventually located abandoned in the Miami area,” Morrissey said in a statement. “Florida has been a focus of our investigation and search, but has it has included other areas as well.”

As the investigation unfolded, authorities discovered that Bell — believed to be from Jamaica — had previously used several names, dates of birth and social security numbers in past encounters with law enforcement and had fraudulently obtained numerous driver’s licenses with different aliases.

Investigators also determined that Bell was the subject of three other warrants under an alias for assault, robbery, and firearms offenses.

For the past two years, he has been on MSP’s most wanted list.

Morrissey said the homicide prosecution has been assigned to Norfolk Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Hely.

Hely and State police are working with Florida officials to arrange Bell’s return to Massachusetts for arraignment in Norfolk Superior Court, the timing of which has yet to be determined.

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