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Ted Bell Enrages Family Of Murder Victim In Campaign Post

May 15, 2022

On Friday the residents of both Rutherford and McDowell counties received not one but two political mailers from D.A. Ted Bell. As you may recall the first mailer sent out was shown to be false. He was not unanimously endorsed by law enforcement.

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The second mailer showed three cases of child predators incarcerated for long periods but failed to discuss all the plea deals that have let multiple child predators continue to walk free and place children at risk.

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The third and fourth mailers that have come out on the same day have equally erroneous messaging. Tough on crime (unless you’re a friend) is HIS opinion, not the general public, and “successfully” fighting the drug problem is an absolute joke. The entire district knows that all too well.

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Now in his latest political facebook message he actually took credit for a case he was not involved in and failed to notify the family of the murdered victim that he was using their son’s case as a political advertisement.  This is the message that was posted on his campaign Facebook page.

District Attorney Ted Bell

Facebook Page: Ted Bell for DA

Murderer Convicted-Sentenced to Life Without Parole

On Friday April 22, 2022, Walter Sidney Mitchell was found guilty of first degree murder in the July 20, 2018 shooting death of Matthew Pressley. This concluded a week-long trial in which Assistant District Attorney Kent W. Brown prosecuted the case on behalf of the State. Mitchell, who was previously convicted in 2003 of accessory after the fact to second degree murder and first degree kidnapping in an unrelated case, was sentenced to life without parole. 

Pressley allowed Mitchell to live with him at his Walnut Grove Road residence in Nebo after Mitchell’s most recent time in prison. Soon after moving in, Mitchell began to treat the house as his own, telling Pressley what he could and could not do in his own home, and bringing in whomever he wanted. One such person was a girlfriend of Mitchell’s who on the morning of July 18 became angry when she discovered that Mitchell had just left with another girlfriend. She took Mitchell’s truck keys and threw them in the woods just outside the house to spite him.

On July 20th, the day after Mitchell’s birthday, Mitchell was dropped off by a friend of Pressley’s at another persons garage. Mitchell was trying to convince that person to buy his truck. He then realized he did not have the keys to his truck and did not know where they were. He became convinced Pressley had stolen them. Enraged, Mitchell got a woman to drive him back to Pressley’s house.

Pressley was out in the yard when Mitchell and the woman pulled in. The woman had a revolver in the cupholder of her car, and Mitchell took the gun when he got out of the car. Mitchell walked straight up to Pressley and struck him twice on the head, accusing him of stealing the keys. Pressley denied having anything to do with them. Mitchell then struck Pressley on the side of the head with the pistol.

Two men in the house heard the commotion in the yard through the open front door. Before they could move in that direction, Mitchell came into the house and walked up to them. Mitchell looked at one of them, waving the gun in his face, and said “I know you won’t be the one calling the law.” The man later said that looking at Mitchell was like looking “at a hull of a person, pure evil like nobody was there.” Mitchell immediately turned and walked back outside to where Pressley was still standing in his yard. The man followed Mitchell to the open door.

Mitchell struck Pressley again on the head. Pressley not able to take anymore took a swing at Mitchell and just grazed his nose. Mitchell then raised the gun from his side, leveled it at his head, and shot him in the face. Pressley fell to the ground and Mitchell walked to him. Standing over apressley, Mitchell said “looks like he’s dead.” Mitchell then turned and walked up to the woman’s car, jumped in and took off without her. The woman and the people in the house fled, leaving Pressley lying on the ground.

The bullet entered Presssley’s jaw just below his lower lip on the right side. It traveled along the jaw, through the neck, and pierced the lower part of the skull, damaging the lower sections of the brain before running up the inside back wall of the skull to come to rest at the back of the head. The areas of the brain that were damaged would have resulted in Presley losing his balance and coordination and his eyesight, perhaps to the point of blindness. The investigation revealed, based on the trail of blood, that after the shooting Pressley got to his feet, made his way into the house, felt his way around the living room to the couch, where he sat down, covered up with a blanket, and died.

Mitchell drove to a friend’s residence where he told the friend “I just killed Matt. I shot him in the face.” Mitchell asked for money and then drove away in the woman’s car. Two days later the car was found abandoned on Roper Hollow Road in Burke County 10 miles up that road where it became a single dirt track running through remote woods.

It took the jury five hours of deliberation over two days to find the defendant guilty of premeditated and deliberate first degree murder. We thank the members of the jury for their service, the careful attention the gave too the evidence and the instructions on the law, and the verdict they rendered that gave justice for Matthew Pressley and his family. We thank the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office for their tireless dedication to law enforcement and the thorough they do, especially to Detective Billie Brown and Lieutenant Detective Chris Taylor for their work on this case. Our special thanks go to all the witnesses who ultimately came forward and reported what had happened and then testified to the jury. Finally we extend our heartfelt appreciation to Daniel Pressley, brother to Matthew, and to his family for the dedication they have shown to Matthew throughout the tendency of the case and throughout the trial. When Mitchell’s first lawyer had to be replaced, a second lawyer had to be given time to prepare, and then the courts were closed due to COVID, the Pressley family stayed true to their determination to see justice for Matthew.

Ted Bell

District Attorney

The sister of Matthew Pressley, Tabitha Holsonback, needless to say was horrified that he would use the heartbreaking graphic details of her brother’s case to advance his political agenda especially since he was not involved in any aspect of the trial. Never even meeting with the family. Her reply was as follows:

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“I know good and well that you are NOT trying to take any credit for this case Mr. Bell. You left our family suffering in heart wrenching pain for 3 years and 9 months before moving this case forward to trial. When Mr. Brown did his job (and an incredible job if I might add) WHERE WERE YOU? You were NOT in that courtroom, you offered NO SUPPORT to the victims, family, or friends. You were not there when the verdict was reached or the sentence was read. You now want to use Matthew’s death and Walt’s conviction for a campaign ad? Are you kidding me? Were you there when the crime scene photos were put up on the screen and some of us had to get up and leave the courtroom sobbing so uncontrollably and vomiting that we couldn’t sit there? Were you there to offer a kind word or any comfort or support? NO SIR, YOU WERE NOT! You know who was there? Kent Brown, his assistant and a few others behind the scenes to make sure our family was ok. It is quite disgusting you are trying to take this a political stunt, gain some ground for your campaign, and act like you care about the fact we suffered for 3 years and 9 months.


Ted Bell then immediately deleted her reply off his campaign page. He reached out to her on private messenger with the conversation going as follows:


She saved screenshots of the original post along with the messages and replies and posted them to her page after posting the following:

“I am LIVID this morning!!!! So, Ted Bell, this is what we are doing now??? You are using Matthew’s death as a Campaign ad? SHAME ON YOU! SHAME ON YOU MR BELL! I Love the fact that he posted a picture of the murderer but not the victim… AND ACTS LIKE HE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS!!! LET ME ASSURE YOU ALL HE DID NOT, IT WAS MR. KENT BROWN, MS ANGIE ( KENTS ASSISTANT) , DETECTIVE BILLIE Brown, and many others with the McDowell County Sheriff’s dep., An incredible forensic analyst, a jury of 12 who sat and watched the entire trial and took notes and asked for evidence and made an informed decision. BUT NOT ONE TIME DID WE SEE TED BELL DURING THIS WEEK OF TRIAL, NOT ONE WORD FROM HIM OFFERING SUPPORT TO ANY OF US, AND NOW HE WANTS TO USE MATTHEW’S DEATH/ WALT’S CONVICTION AS A CAMPAIGN AD!!!!! COME ON MCDOWELL COUNTY,YOU DESERVE BETTER Krinn Evans for District Attorney.”

ADA Kent Brown
After admitting that ADA Kent Brown wrote the actual post on his campaign page, not himself as implied by his signature on the post, Mr. Bell took down the post from his campaign site. She in the meantime has made screenshots of all the posts and replies as she said she was afraid he would deny making them.

Ms. Holsonback has every reason to feel she needed to have proof of what he did as he would possibly deny it. This has been the way he has done things for the past seven years. It is incomprehensible that he would:

  • Take credit for a trial he was not part of
  • Use that trial as a political tool for his campaign without considering the family of the victim or at least informing them.
  • Specifically put his name on a post that he did not write
  • Delete the reply of the victim’s mother on said post because it was unflattering to him
  • Then actually put in writing that he did not write said post.

Is this really what you want in your District Attorney? A man who cares so little for the family of a murder victim that he would put them through this for his own personal gain? Not to mention all the other things he has/has not done while in office like these to name a few:

District Attorney Ted Bell
  • Protection of a judge who committed criminal acts and lied to law enforcement officers about it.
  • Total lack of transparency concerning anything in the Sheriff’s Office or the jail.
  • Personal vendetta court cases taking priority over long waiting cases.
  • Difficult cases (WOFF) being continued 6+ years until no witnesses remember anything about it.
  • Discussing current murder investigations and sharing depositions with social media people who live out of state.
  • Not utilizing court time to decrease the backlog of cases.
  • Asked for a political favor from a police chief to remove a political banner (negative to Ted Bell) off private property.
  • Misrepresenting official police endorsements to affect an election.

This Tuesday will be the final day to vote in the Republican primary. The reason this is important is this election will decide who holds the office for the next four years. The holder of this office affects every single one of us. This position is the cornerstone of our legal system. The District Attorney decides who does and does not get charged for crimes. We must have someone with integrity and concern for the people in this office. We must demand it and we deserve it. All these example continually show that Ted Bell is NOT the man for this job. It is time to “clean” the courthouse and reintroduce not only respect, but honesty, transparency, and dignity.

We can make our voices heard. We can hold the holders of this office accountable. Go to the polls if you haven’t already and vote for change on Tuesday.

We Deserve it!