Man who sexually assaulted, kidnapped ASU student sentenced to 40 years in prison

A man was sentenced to 40 years in prison after he was found guilty of the sexual assault and kidnapping of an ASU student in October 2021.

Eric Todd Bell attacked a student in Tempe as she was walking from her apartment to work at around 5 a.m. on Oct. 17.

"Bell grabbed her from behind, took her to a nearby location, and assaulted her. The victim did not know Bell, thinking he was a jogger coming up from behind her on the sidewalk," said a May 14 news release from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. "When the assault concluded, Bell told the victim to count to 50 before doing anything – presumably to aid his escape from the scene."

eric bell

Eric Bell was arrested in connection to a sexual assault case at Arizona State University that happened on Oct. 17, 2021.

The victim believed she was being held at knifepoint and threatened with a gun, but authorities never found a weapon. It was Bell's DNA that was found on the victim that led to his conviction.

"To further complicate things, the defendant opted to act ‘pro per,’ meaning he represented himself at trial," the county attorney's office said.

County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said this added a complex layer to the case.

"These cases are already challenging enough, even when the defendant has his own lawyer. When the defendant is representing himself, my lawyers must work doubly hard to ensure he doesn’t make mistakes that would jeopardize a conviction. I’m particularly proud of this team who took all that into account and still made sure he will go to prison where he belongs," she explained.

On May 9, Bell was sentenced to 40 years in prison. He will also register as a lifetime sex offender.

In court, the victim said, "I will keep pushing forward, stronger than ever. Moving forward, it is crucial for society to prioritize understanding, empathy, and support for all survivors of assault. By fostering a culture of understanding and inclusivity, we can ensure survivors receive the care and support they need. It is important for victims to know that they are not alone and that there are resources available to help them navigate the healing process."

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