DEKALB COUNTY, GA—A Lithonia man was sentenced to 25 years for stabbing and stomping his then-girlfriend as motorists on busy Wesley Chapel Road tried to intervene, DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston’s Office has announced.
On Wednesday, Dec. 6, a jury found Lavon Bell, 43, guilty on charges of Aggravated Battery–Family Violence, Aggravated Assault–Family Violence and Possession of a Knife During the Commission of a Felony stemming from the assault on Jan. 22, 2021.
According to the investigation, Bell and his girlfriend had gone out to eat at a restaurant in Lithonia. During the meal, Bell began to accuse her of cheating on him. He then asked for the check and told the victim he planned to rape and kill her when they got back to her house.
Bell’s girlfriend went to the restaurant bathroom to secretly call 911 and asked police to go to her house to get her children to safety. The victim then sent a text message to her sister warning her that Bell was going to try to kill the victim in the car.
Investigators said the pair got into the victim’s SUV and Bell began to drive them home. While in the vehicle, Bell repeatedly punched the victim in the face and head. She attempted to escape the car at the intersection of Wesley Chapel Road and Snapfinger Road where Defendant Bell used a pocketknife to slash her face from her ear to her nose. The victim tried to run, but Bell jumped out of the SUV, grabbed the victim, slammed her against the vehicle, punched and stabbed her. She then collapsed on the road.
Other drivers in the intersection started honking their horns and getting out of their cars to help. Bell then stomped and kicked the victim’s face and head. He threatened the citizens who approached the scene with the bloody pocketknife and lunged at one man with the weapon. Bell then stomped on the victim’s face one last time and got back in the SUV and fled the scene, the District Attorney’s Office stated.
A Good Samaritan called 911 and followed Bell down the road to help law enforcement locate him.
Immediately following the conviction, DeKalb County Judge Alan C. Harvey, who presided over the trial, sentenced Bell to 25 years in prison.
The case, assigned to the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit, was prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Furhawn Shah with assistance from Senior ADA Nicole Finnie, DA Investigator Shawna Barber and Victim Advocate Shelbie Rainwater. DeKalb County Police Department Detective G. Moore led the initial investigation.