AKRON, Ohio — A 48-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the killing of Akron's Brian "Egypt" Powers nearly three years ago.
Police and U.S. Marshals apprehended Bobby Lee Bell Thursday morning. The Cuyahoga Falls resident is currently being held in the Summit County Jail on a charge of murder, having been arraigned Friday morning in Akron Municipal Court and issued a $1 million bond.
Authorities found Powers shot to death on the morning of June 13, 2020, just outside The Chapel on the edge of the University of Akron campus. A year later, 3News profiled the cold case in our series "Someone Knows," with loved ones believing the gender nonconforming Powers may have been the victim of a hate crime.
"I'm not going to lie: I have times where I feel like if he were a Caucasian or heterosexual male, they would've worked harder or found something," sister Vivian Powers Smith said at the time, when no arrests had been made and no witnesses had come forward.
Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett told WKYC that "no one in this department has forgotten about Mr. Powers," and in today's press release the department said Bell was eventually identified as a "person of interest." He was captured this morning on South Arlington Street, allegedly with a handgun on his person.
Mylett released the following statement:
"As always, the Akron Police Department is grateful for the strong partnership with the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force (NOVFTF). Like them, we will exhaust every effort and turn over any stone to bring violent offenders to justice. Any loss of life is tragic, and I hope this arrest provided closure for the Powers' family and those who knew and cared for him. Our commitment to public safety and helping to make for a stronger Akron remains unchanged."
A possible motive for Powers' death was not given, but court records show Bell has a lengthy criminal history in Summit County. Most notably, he spent roughly a decade in prison for attempted aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in 1993. He was released by 2008, but later served more time for drug trafficking.
More than a year after Powers' killing, Bell was arrested again at his then home on West Crosier Street. He pleaded guilty to felony charges of trafficking fentanyl and cocaine as well as having weapons under disability, but avoided more prison time and was sentenced to three years probation, essentially making him a free man prior to this week's events.
Besides murder, Bell is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm (due to his prior felony convictions), improper handling of a firearm inside a motor vehicle, possession of crack cocaine, and drug paraphernalia. He is due to appear in court again on March 29, although this could change depending on what a grand jury decides.