NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A Newport News stabbing victim says she believes justice hasn’t been served in her case.
Rochelle Bell was injured when she was attacked by her neighbor last December. There was a knock on her apartment door on Judy Drive. As soon as she opened it, Gamal Pennyfeather stabbed her in the side with a machete.
The tendons and nerves in her hand were permanently damaged in the process. “I have to decide if I want to live like my hand like this or do I want to go through more pain and surgeries,” Bell said.
Bell can no longer work, rent is stacking up and, to make things worse, Pennyfeather recently pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
“Right now the only person who seems to have rights is Gamal Pennyfeather,” Bell added. “He gets three meals a day. He is going to have a roof over his head. He is going to have medical and mental treatment and I’m out here trying to figure out how I’m going to cover my medical bills.”
Pennyfeather is now in a state hospital and could be out as soon as doctors believe he can be part of society.
“I think it’s unfair,” Bell said. “I know i’m not the first one. I know I’m not the last one. Someone needs to speak up and say victims have rights too!”
Bell applied for the Virginia Victims Fund, a place where victim’s can get help to pay bills. She recently got a response and the state is only going to pay her $219.
10 On Your Side contacted the directors of the fund. They couldn’t talk about Bell’s case, but they do say that as more information is received awardable expenses will be considered.
Prosecutors tell 10 On Your Side Bell is a true victim in every sense of the word. They believe the General Assembly needs to look at not only having the resources for suspects, but the victims they leave behind.
“I hope speaking with you and speaking out that maybe someone with stature can say ‘let’s make a change,'” Bell added.