Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Convicted Tampa cop killer found incompetent for the 13th time

TAMPA — Not even a judge's order forcing psychotropic medications could restore convicted cop killer Carlos Bello to competency.

Bello, 57, refused to eat after Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta made his ruling in April, said prosecutor Darrell Dirks. Noticing the fluctuation in his vital signs, jail officials delayed the administration of the medications to ensure his health, Dirks said.

The convict appeared in court this week in a wheelchair, unable to recognize his family members in the audience. Two doctors deemed him incompetent, and on Thursday Ficarrotta agreed.

For the 13th time since his 1987 conviction, Bello will return to a state hospital instead of being sentenced. "He has manipulated the system since 1981," Dirks said. "He continues to manipulate the system."

On July 24, 1981, the Cuban refugee who had spent the previous decade in and out of Cuban mental hospitals shot two Tampa police detectives during a drug bust. He injured Robert Ulriksen. He killed Gerald A. Rauft.

Once in custody, Bello tried to commit suicide. He became catatonic. Doctors diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia and medicated him at a hospital, only to find he would stop taking his medications in jail and deteriorate — a pattern he continues to repeat.

Six years after his arrest, a jury convicted him of murdering one detective and attempting to murder another. A judge sentenced him to die in the electric chair.

But in 1989, the Florida Supreme Court threw out the sentence, partly because Bello was made to wear leg shackles in court, which could have prejudiced the jury. The court ordered that Bello be resentenced.

More than 20 years later, that's where this case remains.

Dirks says the biggest problem lies in the lag time between Bello's stints at the hospital and his sentencing hearings. He was off his meds for about a month before Ficarrotta ruled. Dirks says he will get a report about Bello in six months and once it's time for another hearing, will try to coordinate a quicker, more seamless transition.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3354.

Convicted Tampa cop killer found incompetent for the 13th time 05/06/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 6, 2010 10:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun


    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  4. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive


    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  5. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.