Bell's Family Does Not Believe StoryBy Megan Hickey

CHICAGO (CBS) — An 18-year-old man has been ordered held without bail, after prosecutors say he shot and killed his girlfriend, 19-year-old Lyniah Bell, while “play fighting” with a gun he thought was unloaded Friday night in East Chatham.

As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported, Lafayette Hodges is charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter. He cried through his mugshot photos, and through his bond hearing on Monday.

A judge set Hodges’ bail on that charge at $50,000 on Monday, but ordered him held without bail for violating the terms of his earlier bond.

Prosecutors said Bell and Hodges had been dating for nine months before the shooting.

Hodges’ defense attorney said he was not a flight risk and had requested he be released on electronic monitoring.

According to court records, Hodges also was arrested in April, charged with aggravated battery of a police officer, and resisting arrest. Cook County court records said he punched and bit two officers.

He was released after posting bail, but had been arrested at least twice before the shooting on drug charges. Hodges also has a juvenile history of weapons charges, including attempted armed robbery.

Prosecutors said Hodges was out on $2,000 bail in the aggravated battery case at the time of the shooting.

Police have said Hodges turned himself in early Saturday, about six hours after Bell was shot and killed at his home near 81st Street and Maryland Avenue.

Lyniah Bell

Lyniah Bell, 19, was found shot to death in a home on South Maryland Avenue. (Courtesy: Sam Brown)

Officers were called to the scene around 10 p.m. Friday, after a witness reported hearing a gunshot while Bell was in the bedroom.

Cook County prosecutors said Hodges told police he was “play fighting” with a revolver he thought was unloaded, when he pointed at himself and another friend and Bell and pulled the trigger.

According to prosecutors, Hodges told detectives the friend had brought the gun to his house, and emptied the bullets onto the bed before he started playing with it. He also claimed Bell told him “he loved her too much to hurt her” when he pointed the gun at her.

Hodges told police nothing happened when he pulled the trigger while pointing the gun at himself and the friend, but it went off in her face when he pointed it at Bell and pulled the trigger, according to prosecutors.

Bell was shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene. The gun has not been recovered.

Prosecutors said Hodges fled the scene after the shooting, and called his mother, telling her he’d accidentally shot Bell. She told him to turn himself in, and he later surrendered to police at the Harrison District station on the West Side.

Bell graduated from the North Lawndale College Prep Collins campus, 1313 S. Sacramento Dr., last school year. The charter high school said she was home from Michigan State University during winter break.

Bell’s family does not believe Hodges’ story about “play fighting.”

“You had six and a half hours to come up with a story, recruit a witness, get rid of a gun,” Sam Brown, Lyniah Bell’s cousin, said outside the courtroom.

“Him sitting in court crying, I would have cried too, OK?” said Joseph Wright, also Bell’s cousin. “He should have had tears coming out his eyes. He should have, because he took an innocent life.”

Bell’s family also thinks Hodges’ violent history should be taken into account. They point to his public Facebook page, which show photos of him holding a gun.

Taking all of this into account, they think his punishment should be more severe.

“First-degree murder,” Brown said.

“They need to look at his history and they really need to take all of this into account,” Wright added.

Hodges has another hearing on Tuesday for the previous aggravated battery case. His next hearing in the involuntary manslaughter case is Friday, Jan. 17.

Megan Hickey