Part of the story of Bell has come to a close, as the first guilty verdicts have been returned for former officials of Bell. The story, which has dominated local government discourse and resulted in greater citizen involvement throughout the state, now includes potential jail sentences for five of the six officials whose trials spanned the last month.
Ex-Mayor Oscar Hernandez, Teresa Jacobo, George Mirabal, George Cole, and Victor Bello were all found guilty of a variety of crimes. Luis Artega was found not guilty on all 12 counts he faced.
The trial may be over, but the jury’s duties may continue. The jury remained deadlocked, 9-3, on a plethora of charges against the five already-convicted defendants. Judge Kathleen Kennedy could order the jury to resume its deliberations.
The City of Bell has been struggling to rebuild after the devastating losses it suffered during the years of Robert Rizzo – who has yet to be tried. But the guilty verdicts and the real possibility of jail sentences for their former officials continues a healing process that has been underway by community activists, local government experts, and volunteers.
To review the full list of charges and verdicts delivered, the Los Angeles Times published its “Cheat Sheet”.
Other aspects of the story can be found at the Los Angeles Times.