Second murder suspect arrested

Published 9:32 am Thursday, February 4, 2016

GATESVILLE – A second suspect is behind bars in connection with the June 13, 2015 murder of Calvin Bell of Hobbsville.

Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb reported that Gerald Waverly Bass, 35, of NC 137, Gatesville, was arrested last week. Bass was charged with felony murder and is held without bond in the Hertford County Jail.

Webb said Bass was held by Dare County law enforcement after he was found there on Jan. 27. Gates County deputies transported Bass back to the county the next day.

Sheriff Webb said Bass became a person of interest in the Bell murder following his Nov. 25, 2015 arrest in Gates County on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

“We interviewed him following his court case on that charge and we able to learn some information regarding the murder of Mr. Bell,” Webb said. “Based on that information we drew arrest warrants for Mr. Bass on the charge of felony murder.”

As far as last week’s search of the wooded area at the twin bridges on NC 137 located near Bass’s home, Webb said that was part of the ongoing investigation.

“We called in the dive team from the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office to assist us at that location; we’re just searching for any evidence from the Bell murder,” Webb said. “We’re also looking for evidence in other areas of the county.”

Meanwhile, the first person charged in Bell’s murder – 29-year-old Aaron Paul Holland of Portsmouth, VA – remains jailed in his hometown. Webb said Holland is fighting extradition back to Gates County since his arrest on Oct. 7 of last year.

As far as if Holland knew Bell prior to the murder, Webb said the investigation did not lead to a solid link between the two men.

“The best we can tell is that he (Holland) has no major ties to Gates County,” Webb said. “We do feel it’s a narcotic related event and that it was a home invasion/robbery that went bad.”

Bell, who resided on NC 37 near its intersection with NC 32 in the Hobbsville area of Gates County, was found deceased in a field adjacent to his home. He died of a gunshot wound.

Based on the initial investigation, which included the SBI who sent a crime scene technician to Bell’s residence, it is believed the incident began with the suspects entering Bell’s home. Webb said back in June that the inside of the home was ransacked.

“We believe at some point that Mr. Bell walked in and caught the suspects in the act,” Webb said.

The Sheriff said there were shots fired from two different weapons, to include a shotgun, inside the residence. Shell casings from a handgun were also discovered outside the home.

“We do have evidence that shows us that Mr. Bell ran out the back door of his home, turned right, and ran about 50 yards before collapsing in a farm field adjacent to his home,” Webb noted. “We also received one report that the truck stopped a short distance after leaving the residence and a white male exited the truck, ran over to where the body was and then ran back to the truck.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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