A point that has not been brought to public notice, but is well known within the court system, is the rapid turnover in the District Attorney’s office in the last four years. At the end of 2017, the District Attorney’s office was composed of the following individuals: in Rutherford, Ted Bell, Ken Sauve, David Norris, Garland Byers and Roger McCallum plus administrative staff. In McDowell County, the office was made up of Kent Brown, Michelle McEntire, David Denninger and administrative staff. Only 2 attorneys in the original office remain employed there. The following Assistant District Attorney (ADA) list is provided and will be discussed more in depth below.
Assistant District Attorney left: Replacement Attorney hired:
- Garland Byers, Jr. (Rutherford) – Brittney Schaffer
- Michelle McEntire (McDowell) – Cydney Joyner
- David Denninger (McDowell) – Michael McEnery
- Roger McCallum (Rutherford) – Lacey Beam
- David Norris (Rutherford) – Corey MacKinnon
- Corey MacKinnon (Rutherford) – no replacement
- Ken Sauve (Rutherford) – no replacement
- Leah Mears (McDowell) – Jacob Harwood
1. Garland Byers, Jr . left the office of the District Attorney on December 31, 2017 to run against Ted Bell for the position of District Attorney. After the completion of the election, Mr. Byers resumed private
practice in Rutherford and McDowell Counties.
Brittney Schaffer , a former employee of King Law, began at the District Attorney’s office on January 1, 2018.
2. Michelle McEntire left the employ of the District Attorney abruptly mid-summer of 2018 leaving the District Attorney’s office to open a private practice.
Approximately 25 months after leaving the District Attorney’s office, she was a Democratic Governor appointment to the judgeship left open by the resignation of C. Randy Pool. After her appointment to the bench, she changed her voting party affiliation and now has made frequent appearances at Republican meetings and events.
Ms. McEntire was replaced by Cydney Joyner, a recent law school graduate. The District Attorney’s office is her first job as an attorney.
3. David Denninger left the District Attorney’s office in late summer to early fall of 2018 to accept a position with the Buncombe County District Attorney’s office. He was replaced by Michael McEnery, who previously practiced privately in McDowell and Buncombe Counties.
4. Roger McCallum left to accept a job with the City of Charlotte legal department after less than two years employment with the District Attorney’s office. McCallum was replaced with Lacey Beam, a graduate of the Charlotte School of Law. The District Attorney’s office is her first job as an attorney.
5. David Norris left in early October, 2018 to accept a job with the newly formed Public Defender’s office for Rutherford and McDowell County.
Mr. Norris was replaced by Corey MacKinnon, who had formerly operated a solo practice in McDowell County prior to accepting a job with the District Attorney’s office in Catawba County. Mr. MacKinnon transferred to the Rutherford District Attorney’s office in December 2018.
6. Mr. MacKinnon was also the next person to leave the employment of the District Attorney’s office, after a successful campaign electing him to the newly formed judicial position. Mr. MacKinnon assumed the bench in January of 2021. At this time, there are no new hires in the Rutherford County office that have been noted.
7. Ken Sauve was the next person to leave the office; retiring August 2021 after 30 years of state service.
At this time, there are no new hires in the Rutherford County that have been noted.
8. Leah Mears was employed at the McDowell County District Attorney’s office. Upon information and belief, Ms. Mears abruptly left her position after a short employment.
Ms. Mears was replaced by Jacob Harwood, who has had multiple employments over the past two years. Mr. Harwood was part of the newly formed Public Defender’s office, but then left employment there to
work for King Law. Within the past three months, Mr. Harwood has left his position at King Law and accepted employment with the District Attorney.
The bare bones of the “turnover” when examined closer reveals a disturbing pattern. Eight attorneys have left; four left between mid-summer of 2018 and mid-fall of 2018. Some former employees anonymously cited falsification of time records, special procedures for political allies of Bell, and a toxic work environment that cited Bell allegedly saying about a victim that “she was too ugly to rape.”
However this cluster may suggest a correlation centering around Randy Pool’s actions that D.A. Bell has STILL not filed charges against. What did these ADAs know? When were people aware and what was
the reason they kept silent? Was it questions as to the validity of the Judicial Counsel that had been in operation for years without check? No answers to this are to be found – outside of the District Attorney’s office.
The only thing obvious is – in December 2017 there were eight attorneys comprising the District Attorney’s office. In October, 2021 there are six attorneys comprising the District Attorney’s office, and
only two of them are members of the original eight – the elected District Attorney Ted Bell, and Kent Brown, an ADA in McDowell County.