Previous victim of 19-year-old accused of killing 72-year-old Greensboro gas station clerk reacts to shooting: ‘I was devastated’

Crime Tracker

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A previous victim of a 19-year-old accused of killing 72-year-old Patricia Grant says he should have served more time in prison. 

Avion Carnel Bell, 19, of Greensboro, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a stolen firearm and robbery with a dangerous weapon. 

Bell was released from prison in late April, after serving two years for six counts of common law robbery and assaulting a school official. 

Crystal Austin was one of Bell’s victims. In 2019, she told Greensboro police he pointed a gun at her as she was leaving work on North Elm Street. 

“I gave him all the money I had which was $40, that wasn’t enough he wanted my pocketbook and my car, and I just told him he wasn’t going to have it,” she said Thursday. 

Austin reached into her purse and pulled out a gun of her own. She says that’s when Bell ran off. 

“I thought, OK I don’t want to kill this young man, he still he’s just a kid, I could see he was just a kid but at this point, it looks like maybe I could have saved somebody else’s life if I had have,” she said. 

She said she was devastated when Bell was released from prison after two years. 

“I just think she’d still be alive if he hadn’t been put back out on the streets, he should’ve never been put back on the street for what he did,” she said. 

Part of the conditions to Bell’s was release was an agreement he would continue high school or get his GED. 

“You would think after two years in jail he would’ve done something, it was like he just got out and started right back where he left off,” she said. 

She said if he had served more time, Grant may still be alive. 

“It’s just sad I feel so so sorry for her and her family,” she said. 

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