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Crime News Domestic Violence

Frank Bredt Convicted Of Killing Ex-Girlfriend Elisabeth Bell By Setting Her on Fire in Her Bedroom

Prosecutors said Frank J. Bredt Jr. doused Elisabeth Bell in gasoline and lit her on fire in her bedroom, injuring himself and her daughter in the process.

By Gina Tron
Elisabeth Bell Fb

An upstate New York man has been convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend by dousing her in gasoline and setting her on fire during a domestic violence incident. 

A jury found Frank J. Bredt Jr. guilty of two counts of murder in the second degree for the 2018 killing of 28-year-old Elisabeth Bell, according to the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

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What happened to Elisabeth Bell?

During Bredt’s trial, prosecutors claimed that he attacked his ex inside her Buffalo home hours after she put his belongings out on the curb and posted about doing so on social media. "That is what set him off," prosecutor Rebecca Schnirel told the court, according to The Buffalo News.

Bredt, they said, doused Bell in gasoline and set her on fire in her bedroom. "Members of the Buffalo Fire Department and the Buffalo Police Department responded to the fire where they found the body of the victim, 28-year-old Elisabeth Bell, on the second floor of the home," the Erie County District Attorney's Office said in a press release. "Five other people were able to escape the blaze, including the victim’s 7-year-old daughter who suffered burns to her feet."

Bredt was also injured in the fire he set. "The defendant, while being burned by the flames, ran out of the house and attempted to hide," the Erie County District Attorney's Office stated. "He was located a short time later in a nearby home with severe burns to his body. He was taken by ambulance to ECMC where he remained hospitalized for over a year in the Burn Treatment Center."

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Bredt, who used a wheelchair during his trial, suffered burns to about half his body as a result of the fire, his lawyer said, according to The Buffalo News.

The couple was in the midst of a breakup at the time of the murder and Bredt had stopped sleeping at the home about two weeks before the incident, after living with Bell for years, Bell's brother testified during the trial, the newspaper reported.

Bredt's defense team tried to unsuccessfully convince the jury that he didn’t set the fire and that there was no evidence that he did. They claimed that investigators decided he was guilty without proof. 

What was Frank Bredt sentenced to in Elisabeth Bell's murder?

Bredt was sentenced on May 20, 2022 to 25 years to life in prison, the maximum possible sentence for the two counts of murder in the second degree he was found guilty of.

Where is Frank Bredt now?

Bredt, now 35, is incarcerated at Green Haven Correctional Facility, according to New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision records accessed in December of 2023. His "earliest release date" was listed as April 17, 2043.

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Bell was an animal lover who spent her free time volunteering at an animal shelter. 

“This is one of the most horrific domestic violence homicide cases that has been prosecuted by my office,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn stated following the conviction. “This defendant intentionally killed his girlfriend by burning her alive in her bedroom."

"I hope this defendant understands the excruciating pain that he caused this young mother after being severely burned as a result of his murderous actions," he added. "The family of Elisabeth Bell has waited a long time for justice and I hope they feel that justice has been served.”

Originally published Mar 30, 2022.

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