ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The stage is set for the trial of alleged serial rapist Nathan Bell--jury selection began today.
49 potential jurors answered numerous questions this afternoon on everything from potential biases to how many times they have been in a courtroom before.
Bell is accused of sexually assaulting at least five Stateline women since 2009--choking and punching them into submission. Court documents show he has history of violence against women and he was previously convicted of murdering a girlfriend in the late 1970s. Today Judge McGraw asked if any potential jurors had been victims of sexual assault.
The trial is expected to last at least a week. Bell's attorney previously filed a motion to be withdrawn as counsel saying his client had stopped paying him, but Judge McGraw did not allow his attorney to quit.
In October, a court ordered Bell's DNA to be sent to the state crime lab.
Police say they suspect may be involved in a number of other unsolved rape cases.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- 23 News has learned accused serial rapist Nathan Bell was convicted 30 years ago for murdering the mother of his three children.
Court records show Bell was sentenced to 40 years in prison for shooting his 21-year-old girlfriend in the head while she was holding their two-month-old baby. He went to prison in August of 1980, but was released after only serving half his sentence. He's now being charged with raping at least five women.
He was also convicted in 1975 of severely burning a different girlfriend with a red hot sword.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- An alleged serial rapist who has been targeting Stateline women for at least three years, is now behind bars.
Choking, punching, and kicking. That's what Nathan Bell allegedly did to his victims before he sodomized them, raped them and forced them to have oral sex. At least that's what numerous Stateline women are claiming.
According to court documents the first rape allegedly occurred in January 2009. The others started early last year. There were two in January, one in August and one last September.
So far he's only being charged with raping five women. But that number might increase if they match his DNA to DNA found in old rape kits.
In October, a court ordered that his DNA be sent to the state crime lab for blood, hair, and saliva samples to be crosschecked with other unsolved sexual assault cases.
Bell has been in jail since August, his bail was set at $500,000.
Bell's defense attorney says he has plead not guilty to all five cases. A trial is set for April.