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Daniel Colwell: The Killer with the Mental Illness

Mental illness is a hot topic nowadays, but have you heard of Daniel Colwell. Here’s everything you need to know about the justice system failing him and his case. Daniel Colwell came from a large family. There were 14 children in total. His family was god-fearing, hardworking, and very religious. The Colwell family was widely known and even well-respected in Americus, Georgia.

Daniel Colwell was the star of the Colwell family. Daniel received a college football scholarship. Daniel came in at 6-foot 1 inch and 225 pounds. Daniel was even being considered for a pro prospect. In Daniel’s younger brother, Steven’s eyes, Daniel was his hero.

Steven even recounted that Daniel loved stepping up to the plat and making big moves. He was one of the most exciting football players on the field.

Unfortunately, Daniels football career was going to end abruptly in 1983 when he decided to walk off the field right before the college team’s final game of the season.

This is when his family said they saw the first signs that Daniel was suffering from a mental illness.

Daniel Colwell Case

But, how did Daniel Colwell end up in jail? That is a great question.

Daniel Colwell who was suffering from some sort of mental illness shot and murdered two people in an Americus Wal-Mart parking lot in the mid-1990s.

The victims of this sad, sad crime Judith and Mitchell Bell. Colwell’s main purpose for killing this white couple was, so he could be sentenced to death.

Years prior to the killings of Judith and Mitchell, Daniel Colwell had a never-ending death wish, but Daniel was always too afraid to commit suicide.

Prior Problems with the Law

Prior to Daniel killing the Bells, he was not always a law-abiding citizen. When Colwell moved back to Americus, Georgia, Colwell took a kitchen knife and a toy gun down to his local television station and demanded them to put him on air, so he could promote atheism. Colwell stated this is what God wanted, and he was fulfilling God’s orders.

In this incident, Daniel was sentenced to probation, along with receiving state mental health services. Unfortunately, the state mental health services failed him. Daniel rarely ever saw the same doctor more than once. Daniel was typically only seen once every three or so months. Even the medication he was taking was not working. The medication made it impossible for Daniel to do the basic self-care routine. Daniel really started believing during this time that the only way he could have peace was to kill himself.

This is when Daniel started plotting ways to make the world realize he had the right to die by state execution. This is when Daniel came up with the plan to kidnap one of the most well-known white men to kill him to really ensure he would get the death penalty.

However, Daniel’s plan was found out, and Daniel was arrested. Daniel was charged and convicted of this crime. He was sentenced to serve 2 years in prison. Even though a state doctor stated that putting Daniel in prison will only worsen Daniel’s mental state. While Daniel was serving out his 2-year sentence, he tried to kill himself at least once. Daniel was paroled in 1995.

With even more lacking mental health treatment, Daniel decided it was time to come up with a greater even deadlier plan. This is when he ended up in the Walmart parking lot in July of 1996 when he ended up killing the two white people Judith and Mitchell Bell. He knew if he were to kill two white victims that would guarantee him to be sentenced to death. Right after the nonsense kills, Daniel went down to the police department and turned himself in.

Daniel’s Demise

Daniel was always too afraid to commit suicide until a Sunday evening in January of 2003.

Daniel Colwell, who was a 41-year-old black male was found hanging in his prison cell at the Jackson State Prison. Daniel Colwell was sitting on death row here at the Jackson State Prison when he finally committed suicide. Prison officials from the Jackson State Prison stated that Colwell hung himself with his bedsheet.

Prior to the murder trial for Daniel Colwell, Colwell was diagnosed with manic depression and paranoid schizophrenic. Colwell attempted suicide several times before he was successful. But in a desperate attempt to die in the electric chair, he ultimately killed the Bells, before he surrendered himself to police just shortly after.

Mentally Ill & Capital Punishment

As we mentioned above, before Daniel went to trial, Daniel was diagnosed with manic depression and paranoid schizophrenic. Yet, somehow, someway Daniel was still found to be competent enough to stand trial.

Against Daniel’s defense team advice, Daniel pled guilty to the murders of Judith and Mitchell Bell.

Daniel went as far as writing letters to the community leaders, district attorney, the judge, various local citizens all stating that he deserved to die to give him the death penalty. Even in a statement in front of the jury, Colwell threatened them. He went as far as saying he’s a cold-blooded murderer and a monster. Appalled the judge overseeing Daniel’s case gave him much needed advice on how to go about using his further appeals.

Ultimately, Daniel got what he wanted; Daniel was sentenced to death. It was not until much later after he was sitting in the Jackson State Prison that he started expressing remorse over his prior actions.

This all started happened after Daniel started receiving adequate mental health treatment. However, there were still times that he was still all about dying instead of staying in prison for the rest of his life, but then there were also many times when he did not want to die. There were times he would rather live the rest of his days out in the state mental hospital.

Ultimately, when the news came out that the governor of Illinois had changed all the death sentences in Illinois to life in prison, Daniel got scared that this could also happen to the state of Georgia. In this fear, Daniel ended up successfully taken his own life.

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