Erica Bell Found Guilty of Murder, Manslaughter

Rochester, NY -- Erica Bell has been found guilty of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in the death last fall of her boyfriend's daughter -- three-year-old Brook Stagles. 

Judge Chris Ciaccio said Friday Bell's statements in recorded phone conversations from jail are proof she hit Brook in the stomach. And he said she caused the death by doing nothing to get medical help for Brook.

The judge said Bell's conduct was reckless, and met the requirement for a first degree manslaughter conviction. And Ciaccio said Bell -- by telling others not to take Brook to the hospital -- showed a depraved indifference to human life, a condition of the second-degree murder charge. 

He called Bell's actions supremely selfish and inhuman. 

Ciaccio said Bell's story blaming Brook's father was not credible. Brook's father, Michael Stagles, is charged with criminally negligent homicide and will face trial November 13.

Bell's sentencing is set for November 8.

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