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New suspect indicted for 2016 Macon murder; Initial suspect's murder charges dropped

Sterling Bell/Via WSB

MACON, Ga. -- New developments in a 2016 north Macon murder case recently freed a man from murder charges after two years, while a new suspect was indicted Tuesday in Bibb County court.

Sterling Bell, of Clarkston, is indicted on charges of Malice Murder, Felony Murder and Possession of Firearm During Commission of a Felony. He's accused of shooting and killing 27-year-old Kendra Roberts on Aug. 7, 2016.

Roberts was found dead on Riverside Drive near the River Walk Apartments. Later that day, her boyfriend Daniel Hall -- age 22 at the time -- was arrested and charged with her murder. He was also denied bond.

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However, Hall's Malice and Felony murder charges were dismissed in Bibb County court earlier this year on Oct. 24 -- this coming after authorities connected Bell to Roberts' murder by gun evidence.

“In this case, and in every case, we follow every lead to make sure that we protect the innocent and convict the guilty," Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke said. "In this case, our investigation led to Mr. Bell’s indictment and a dismissal of all charges against Mr. Hall. We look forward to the day that we can get justice for Ms. Roberts, her family, and the community.”

Clarkston police Sgt. Jasond Elliot says Bell was originally arrested 10 days after Roberts' murder on Aug. 17, 2016 -- although for an unrelated incident.

A police report shows officers arrested Bell in Clarkston's Milam Park after finding him there after hours. Bell was taken to the DeKalb County jail for an outstanding warrant and his car was impounded.

Officers also found a loaded gun in his car and collected it for safekeeping. But Elliot says after Bell was released from custody, he never returned to retrieve his gun.

In early 2018, ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) Agent Brian Moore collected the Clarkston PD's stored guns to shoot and test for any shell casings with unique markings found around crime scenes. Results from Bell's gun linked him to Roberts' murder, police say.

He was then arrested for the murder in October before being indicted Tuesday.

Check back here for more updates to this story.

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