COLUMBIA, S.C., Oct. 3. -- A man who claimed to be Jesus Christ died Friday in the electric chair, choosing that means of execution because he said it would quickly send him to heaven to be with the two girls he killed. Larry Gene Bell, 47, was pronounced dead at 1:12 a.m. EDT Friday, less than two hours after the Supreme Court denied his 11th-hour appeal. He was executed for the murders of Shari Faye Smith, 17, and Debra May Helmick, 9, who were raped and suffocated in 1985. The execution was witnessed by Shari Smith's uncle, Rick Cartrette, and Debra Helmick's father, Donnie Helmick. 'We are relieved that the sentence has been carried out, but just because it has been carried out don't forget Shari or Debra,' Cartrette said after the execution. 'I didn't know what to expect witnessing the execution, but this is closure as far as not hearing Larry Bell's name any more. Our family has forgiven him.' But there was no forgiveness from Helmick, who said shortly before the execution, 'I really have no feeling about this. Now, maybe I can get a rest. Kill the son of a bitch.' Helmick got into a shoving match with death penalty opponents outside the prison where the execution was carried out. Police broke up the scuffle and no charges were filed. Bell, a former electrician, chose the electric chair over death by lethal injection so he could 'be with (his) victims sooner.' In a recent psychiatric evaluation, Bell told doctors he was Jesus Christ and received direct revelations from God.
In prison, he also smeared his own feces on himself and drank his own urine. The first victim, Smith, was kidnapped May 31, 1985, while checking the mail at the end of the family driveway. She was raped and died of suffocation two days later. Helmick was abducted two days later from her front yard in broad daylight while playing with her younger sister. Both victims were found with their heads wrapped in plastic and sealed with duct tape. Bell allowed Smith to write a two-page will, which was mailed to her family. 'I'll be with my Father now, so please, don't worry! Just remember my witty personality and great special times we all shared together. Please don't ever let this ruin your lives,' she wrote. That letter gave police a clue -- an impression of an Alabama phone number that led police to a house where Bell had been house-sitting. Bell taunted the Smith family by calling them eight times to speak with Shari's sister Dawn, telling her, 'Your time is near.' He told her where to find the body of her sister and the younger victim. During his trial, he also proposed to the victim's sister while on the witness stand. Bell also taunted investigators with telephone calls, but was finally arrested June 27, 1985, at a roadblock. The Smith and Helmick murders were portrayed in the television movie 'Nightmare in Columbia County,' which aired Dec. 10, 1991.