Murder cause remains mystery

Published 6:48 pm Saturday, August 29, 2009

WINDSOR – Inconclusive….that’s the determination of a preliminary autopsy performed on a Bertie County man earlier this week.

Meanwhile, the man suspected in causing the death remains behind bars.

Bertie County Sheriff Greg Atkins reported that what caused the death of Willie Mason Bell, 36, of 303 NC 45, Merry Hill, remains a mystery at this time.

“The preliminary autopsy report is unclear over the cause of death,” Sheriff Atkins said. “The cause could not be determined in the initial report.”

Atkins said additional tests, including toxicology, would hopefully shed light on how Bell died.

“It may be some time before we actually know the cause of death,” the Sheriff said.

Meanwhile, the main suspect in the case, Horace Leon Sessoms, 46, of 117 Holley Road, Colerain, is under arrest for first-degree murder.

Law enforcement officers were summoned to the scene, located between Perrytown and NC 45 in the northeastern part of the county, following a call placed to the Bertie Sheriff’s Dispatch Center early Monday morning. There they found Bell’s lifeless body lying in Farless Road.

“From the information we gathered from witnesses, there may have been a fight between Mr. Bell and a person we believe to be Mr. Sessoms,” Sheriff Atkins said. “We conducted an interview with Mr. Sessoms, but he chose not to make a statement and asked for an attorney.”

From the outset of this case, Atkins said there was no obvious cause of death.

“From looking at the body, there were no obvious external injuries,” Atkins said.

According to witnesses, the alleged fight took place in a parking lot located in front of an auto repair garage at 210 Farless Road. Atkins reported there was reason to believe that the garage may be a “shot house” – a place that illegally serves alcoholic beverages. The Sheriff summoned the assistance of North Carolina ALE (Alcohol Law Enforcement) to investigate the alleged “shot house.” Following that investigation, ALE issued a citation to Damian Antoine Spruill, 35, of Dewdrop Road, Colerain, for selling alcohol without a license.