Felon out on bond for violent crimes now charged in St. Paul homicide

He was charged in July 2020 in a string of violent crimes in Ramsey County that included kidnapping, carjacking and armed robbery.

Xavion Tyrece Bell/Minnesota Department of Corrections

A St. Paul man on parole for a violent crime who was also out on bond on charges in other violent crimes has now been charged with murder.

Xavion Tyrese Bell, 21, was just released from prison last fall after serving time for a 2018 aggravated robbery.

Last Thursday, he shot and killed Dion Lamarr Ford Jr., 21, of St. Paul during an attempted robbery, according to charges filed in Ramsey County.

According to multiple media reports, Ford was a well-liked former basketball star at St. Paul’s Central High School.

Dion Ford Jr. (Twitter/MNHSU)

About 9:15 p.m. on March 31, St. Paul police responded to a report of two people shot on the 400 block of Maryland Avenue West. When police arrived, they found one male down on the ground with a gun in his hand and saw another man being loaded into a vehicle, according to police dispatch audio at the time.

A charging document in the case elaborates on that initial report, stating that Ford was the victim found lying on the ground with a gun partially in his hand, and Bell was the person being loaded into a Chevrolet Cruze that police stopped from driving away.

Ford had been shot in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. Bell had been shot in the back and was taken to Regions Hospital in critical condition.

The criminal complaint details that surveillance video from the location showed Ford inside two businesses, a supermarket and a restaurant next door. The video also showed Bell exit the Cruze and follow Ford from the market to the restaurant.

The video showed Ford leave the business with bags in his hands and approach his vehicle parked on Arundel Street. Ford looked over his shoulder as Bell approached Ford with his hand in his jacket pocket. Ford backed away toward the trunk of the vehicle. Bell then opened the driver’s door and leaned inside.

Ford dropped his bags and pulled out a gun and shot Bell. Bell fell to the ground and shot back at Ford as Ford backed away from the vehicle while firing. Ford fell to the ground, and bullets struck the ground near him. Ford then fired shots in the direction from where the shots came. Bell fired at Ford who then slumped over and stopped moving. Muzzle flashes showed that Bell fired another 13 times at Ford after he stopped moving. The criminal complaint noted that Ford had a permit-to-carry a handgun.

Bell has been charged with second-degree murder without intent while committing or attempting to commit robbery and assault, and second-degree murder with intent, not premeditated.

The brother of Bell was also charged on Tuesday in connection with the homicide. D’Angelo Semaj Dampier, 19, has been charged with aiding an offender as an accomplice after the fact, and three counts of possession of a firearm or ammunition by an ineligible person. Charges say Dampier told investigators that he fired five to six shots until his gun’s magazine was empty after he saw “folks draw guns.” Dampier also admitted to taking home the gun that Bell used to shoot Ford. The criminal complaint against Dampier states he has a prior conviction for simple robbery, making him ineligible to possess firearms.

Xavion Bell’s criminal history

Bell was convicted in 2018 on a charge of first-degree aggravated robbery at the age of 18. He was originally granted a stay of imposition on the conviction, meaning the 48-month prison sentence was not imposed. Bell was instead sentenced in a downward dispositional departure to one year in the Ramsey County Correctional Facility by Ramsey County Judge Nicole J. Starr. Bell was given credit for time already spent in jail, leaving him with just under three months remaining to serve.

Just three months after his release, Bell violated probation and was sentenced to another year in the local correctional facility in May 2019. Bell served about eight months in the facility since Minnesota only requires offenders to serve two-thirds of their sentence incarcerated.

Alpha News previously reported on Bell when he was charged in July 2020 in a string of violent crimes in Ramsey County that included kidnapping, carjacking and armed robbery.

Having been charged in those new cases triggered yet another probation violation for Bell on his prior aggravated robbery conviction. As a result, Bell was finally sent to prison in August 2020 to serve the remainder of his previously stayed sentence.

Bell was just released from prison on that conviction in November 2021. The two felony cases involving robbery and kidnapping were still pending and Bell was taken into custody on warrants in Ramsey County following his release from prison, according to court records.

Just days later, court records show that Bell posted bonds in the two pending cases and was released from custody the day after Thanksgiving last fall.

Jail records show Bell was arrested in February on probable cause felony terroristic threats, but it does not appear he was officially charged at that time.

Both Bell and Dampier remain in custody. Bell has yet to make his first court appearance on the charges and was still hospitalized as of Tuesday. Dampier is being held on $250,000 bail and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on April 13.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.