Vaughn told police Judy Bell was shot by an intruder, but police say Vaughn was a suspect all along
John Wright | Online Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
CEDAR HILL — Few details emerged this week about what may have led a woman to fatally shoot her lesbian partner in this suburb south of Dallas in 2008, or how authorities finally linked her to the crime three years later.
Seidah Muhammad Vaughn, 41, was arrested Monday, Dec. 6, on a charge of first-degree murder in the February 2007 murder of her partner, Judy Marie Bell, 34.
After being taken into custody at the high school where she teaches in Oklahoma City, Vaughn waived extradition and was brought Tuesday to the Dallas County jail, where she was being held on $500,000 bond.
Vaughn called 911 in the early morning hours of Feb. 29, 2008, and said an intruder had shot Bell in the Cedar Hill home they shared. But there were no signs of forced entry, and authorities never believed Vaughn’s story.
“She’s always been a person of interest, and our detectives have actually kept up with her location over the years because of that,” said Corky Brown, a spokesman for the city of Cedar Hill. “Recently, they came across some information that gave them what they were looking for.”
Brown declined to elaborate and said the motive for the crime remained unknown.
“We don’t typically try them [cases] in the public,” Brown said. “The idea is to get the information to the district attorney and let them try the case.”
Marshall McCallum, the assistant Dallas County district attorney assigned to the case, didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.
District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons said court records contained no additional information because the case was referred by a grand jury.
According to media reports, both Vaughn and Bell taught at Permenter Middle School in Cedar Hill at the time of the murder. They’d lived together for four years.
Bell was a special education teacher and basketball coach. Vaughn taught English and language arts.
Bell’s 10-year-old son and three of Vaughn’s children — ages 11-20 — were in the home sleeping at the time of the shooting.
Vaughn began teaching in Oklahoma City in February 2009. Bell’s son now lives with his father in Houston.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.