Man found guilty of Ames woman's murder sentenced to life without parole

Phillip Sitter
Ames Tribune

Richard G. Fleck Jr. was sentenced Monday to life without the possibility of parole for the February 2021 murder of Ranea K. Bell, and will have to pay restitution to the state and Bell's family.

Fleck, who lived with Bell in Ames as her boyfriend, beat her to death Feb. 19, 2021. A Story County jury found him guilty in May of first-degree murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, trafficking in stolen weapons and fourth-degree theft.

He appealed the verdict to the Iowa Supreme Court, but the court denied to consider the appeal.

District court Judge Amy Moore sentenced Fleck on Monday not only to life in prison, but also to pay $150,000 to Bell's mother, Tammi Bell. 

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Moore also ordered Fleck to pay more than $11,000 to the state's Crime Victim Compensation Program, including for funeral and burial expenses, crime scene clean-up and crime-related expenses for Bell's family — mostly for her mother.

Kansas City police alerted Ames police to check on Bell after they received a report of a man hiding a trash bag in a drainpipe. Officers said they found bloody items in the trash bag, some of which were identified as belonging to Bell. She was found dead the night of Feb. 20.

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Fleck has appealed his sentence.

Phillip Sitter covers education for the Ames Tribune, including Iowa State University and PreK-12 schools in Ames and elsewhere in Story County. Phillip can be reached via email at psitter@gannett.com. He is on Twitter @pslifeisabeauty.