Belmont man charged with gun possession related to Franklin homicides


Monitor staff

Published: 06-09-2023 4:26 PM

A Belmont man is facing several firearm-related felony charges in connection to an ongoing investigation into the murders of Nicole Hughes and her 18-month-old daughter in Franklin last weekend. 

Justin Gebo, 28, was believed to be in possession of a short-barreled rifle recovered from the scene of the fatal shooting on Elkins Street between January and February, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The firearm was recovered from behind the home on June 3. 

However, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office has not announced if the firearm, a CZ Scorpion EVO, is believed to have been used in the homicides. The investigation will look at the gun’s involvement in the homicides and if the alleged suspect, Jamie Bell, was ever in possession of the firearm. 

As part of the investigation into Gebo, which is being conducted solely by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, investigators learned the gun located at the scene of the murders was bought in April 2019 in Hooksett and sold to several different owners before it was purchased by Gebo in January. 

Gebo, a convicted felon, is facing three felony counts of being in possession of a firearm including being in possession of a firearm while under indictment, being a felon in possession of a firearm and being a user of illegal drugs in possession of a firearm. 

 As a result of the ongoing probe, investigators say that Gebo and Bell had known each other for the last 20 years and that Gebo admitted to using illegal substances, specifically methamphetamines, following the homicides.

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In the summer of 2022, Gebo was charged with reckless conduct with a deadly weapon and convicted in Merrimack Superior Court, where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 12 months in prison. Prior, he faced several misdemeanor charges related to drugs between 2016 and 2022.

During a preliminary interview, Gebo told detectives that Bell was using methamphetamines and anabolic steroids at the time of the murders and was experiencing paranoia, officials said. At one point, according to the affidavit, Gebo said that Bell believed his now-deceased daughter was not biologically related to him. Police did not confirm the legitimacy of Gebo’s statements.

On Saturday, police were called to the Elkins Street home, which was shared by Bell, Hughes and their two daughters, aged 18 months and five years, for reports of a shooting. Officials said Bell, 42, shot and killed Hughes, 35, and their 18-month-old daughter, Ariella Bell. He also wounded Hughes’ five-year-old daughter, who survived and was released from the hospital the following day.

Bell was found dead on the banks of the Merrimack River near River Street on Saturday night following a six-hour manhunt. According to the autopsy, Bell died of a single, self-inflicted incised wound of the neck and his cause of death was ruled a suicide.

The investigation remains active and ongoing.