Free Daily Headlines

News

Set your text size: A A A

Serial rapist sentenced to two life sentences after jury finds him guilty

David B. Pressley sits with his defense team in Henderson County Superior Court earlier this week. David B. Pressley sits with his defense team in Henderson County Superior Court earlier this week.

A Superior Court judge Thursday evening sentenced a Henderson County man to two life sentences without the possibility of parole after a jury found him guilty of raping a young woman in 2022 in the home she shared with her father.


Judge George Bell, of Mecklenburg County, sentenced 56-year-old David B. Pressley, of Fletcher, to the two consecutive life sentences without parole after a jury in Henderson County Superior Court found him guilty of first-degree forcible rape and first-degree forcible sexual offense in the case. The jury found Pressley not guilty of first-degree burglary and larceny after breaking and entering in the case.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours before reaching a verdict shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday. The jury took just seven minutes to also find Pressley guilty of being a violent habitual felon after the rape and sex offense verdicts were reached.
Donna Rainwater, a special prosecutor from the N.C. Conference of District Attorneys who tried the state’s case against Pressley, said after court ended Thursday that she was happy with the verdict and the sentence.
“I’m very happy the jury saw the evidence of guilt and found him guilty of the rape and sex offense. Jurors have a difficult job. We respect the jury’s decision,” she said. “Now we know he will never victimize another woman again.”
Attorney Beth Stang, who served as a standby attorney for Pressley, declined to comment.
Pressley chose to represent himself about halfway through his trial and fired Stang and other members of his legal team.
He told the judge he intended to appeal his conviction shortly before sheriff’s deputies led him away from the courtroom in handcuffs Thursday.
Pressley, who was a twice convicted sexual offender before Thursday’s verdict, stood trial this week on charges he raped the young woman, who had just turned 18, in the home she shared with her father off Howard Gap Road while her father was away at work at a nearby Ingles grocery store.
Pressley, an acquaintance of the girl’s father, arrived unannounced at their home earlier that day in January 2022, the girl testified.
Pressley returned to the home later that night and knocked on the door. He said he had left some items on their couch, the young woman testified. She testified she did not remember what happened after turning to look at the couch.
But when her father returned later to check on her, she was suffering from physical injuries, including two broken toes, bruises across her body and redness on her neck. She also felt soreness and bleeding that indicated she had been raped. The father and daughter also testified that her cell phone and bank card were missing when her father arrived.
Her father called 911 and reported Pressley as the suspect in his daughter’s assault, according to testimony and evidence presented at the trial
A nurse who specializes in collecting evidence from rape victims testified during the trial that she collected samples from the victim’s body after she arrived at Pardee Hospital and prepared them in a special kit for rape victims.
Those samples from the rape kit were later analyzed at the state’s crime lab in Edneyville.
A DNA expert testified during the trial that samples taken during the girl’s stay in the hospital confirmed the presence of Pressley’s semen and his DNA in the girl’s body to within octillions of a possibility that it could have been anyone else on Earth.

ER doctor testifies


An emergency room doctor who treated the young woman testified that her physical injuries were likely the result of an assault and that a loss of oxygen from choking or having her airway restricted during the assault could have caused her memory loss.
The jury also heard testimony during the trial from a probation officer and a Henderson County Sheriff’s Office detective who investigated the 2022 case involving Pressley.
The probation officer testified he took Pressley’s cell phone in December 2021 after finding more than one search for rape videos.
Sheriff’s Detective Scott Aly testified he obtained a search warrant for the phone after he began investigating the rape case a month later in January 2022. Aly said he discovered internet searches on the phone for rape, teenage sex and inflicting pain through sex.
Rainwater reminded the jury about the phone’s search history and rape videos the probation officer and detective found on Pressley’s phone during her closing argument to jurors.
“As soon as he looked at it, he saw a very concerning web history,” Rainwater said of the probation officer. “It was a specific type of violent pornography. Very specific, very violent. ... This is what the defendant had on his mind just a few days before raping (the victim),” Rainwater told the jury.
She also reminded the jury that results from the DNA analysis of the evidence taken from the young woman’s body proves Pressley had forcible intercourse with the victim.
Rainwater cautioned the jury to not believe Pressley if he tried to tell them during his closing argument that he had consensual sex with the young woman.
“The only thing he can argue is that this was a consensual encounter,” Rainwater told the jury. “She was a child. She had just turned 18. There is nothing to suggest this was consensual.”
Pressley, who was representing himself, did not present evidence to the jury or testify in his defense.
In his closing argument to the jury, Pressley repeatedly tried to suggest he had a consensual encounter with the young woman and Rainwater repeatedly objected to his statements. Bell sustained each objection and instructed the jury to disregard Pressley’s assertions because nothing presented as evidence during the trial supported his comments.
Pressley also had the court replay a neighbor’s surveillance video that showed him arriving at the young woman’s home, leaving with her father and then returning shortly before 10 p.m. while she was home alone. The video also shows him leaving again after 1 a.m.
In the 911 call, the young woman can be heard correcting her father when he gives the wrong number for their home’s address. Pressley said that proved she did not have memory loss.
“If she was alert and conscious enough to do that, where was the memory loss?” he asked the jury.
After jurors convicted Pressley of rape and sexual assault in the case, they returned to the courtroom to hear evidence in the indictment that charged Pressley with being a habitual felon.
The prosecutor did not deliver an opening statement in that case and Pressley said only, “I’m not guilty.”
Rainwater told the jury Pressley was convicted in 1995 of raping a woman in Henderson County in 1993. After serving time in prison for that conviction, he was again convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in the county in 2002.
The victim from the 1993 case testified in the recent trial of the 2022 case and faced cross examination from Pressley after she testified about what happened the day he violently raped her in 1993.
Pressley did not offer evidence in the violent habitual felon case.
“There’s nothing to say,” he said.
The jury returned to the courtroom minutes later to announce it had convicted Pressley of being a violent habitual felon.
The jury chose to remain in the courtroom to hear Bell sentence Pressley.