Former Aledo Man Wants Guilty Plea Withdrawn In Sex Assault Case

A former Aledo man is again seeking to withdraw his guilty plea in a 2006 criminal sexual assault case. The case involves 33-year-old Ryan Bell, who is serving 20 years in prison. Oral arguments were heard Wednesday in front of Judge James Conway. He has taken the matter under advisement. The Mercer County State’s Attorney’s office is opposed to the defense motion.
Bell pleaded guilty to the Class 1 felony in October 2006 and received the 20-year prison term the following May. The charge stemmed from a May of 2006 incident involving a 15-year-old girl at an underage drinking party in Aledo. Court testimony indicated the victim may have been drugged. Four juveniles were also charged in the case with aggravated battery and attempted criminal sexual assault. Three were placed on probation and one was sentenced to 90 days at a juvenile detention facility. Bell is currently incarcerated at the Vienna Correctional Center in southern Illinois. He has been denied in previous post-conviction relief attempts and appeals and was also denied executive clemency in 2018.