Onslow Co. man sentenced to life in prison for killing fiancee

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — An Onslow County man charged with killing his fiancée nearly three years ago has been found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Timothy Noble, 57, was charged with killing Debra Holden on Halloween in 2014. Holden was found dead in the couple’s home on Dawson Cabin Road and her death was originally ruled a suicide but later changed to a homicide.

Noble was also engaged to another woman at this time. According to the DA, Noble wanted to leave Holden for this woman but lacked the courage to do so. During the last two weeks of testimony, the state described how Noble spent months lying about his actions that day.

Noble tried to make Holden’s death look like suicide, but investigators became suspicious when they couldn’t recover the bullet.

It was later found in Noble’s left leg.

“It was highly suspicious that we couldn’t find a bullet and then all of a sudden there was a bullet found in the victim’s left hip,” DA Ernie Lee said. “So obviously we spent a lot of time proving that it was a bullet, and we also spent a lot of time proving that it looked like and was consistent with a bullet.”

Holden’s family describes her as devoted to her loved ones.

“She kept the family together,” Marty Coleman, her brother, said. “She took care of all of us.”

They say they’re grateful for the work done by the DA’s office as well as the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s not going to bring her back, but we think it was a fair process, and we got what we got out of it,” Coleman said.

In closing arguments on Thursday, the state reminded the jury of records taken from Noble’s computer where he searched for various poisons and where to buy them days before Holden’s death.

Thirty-eight witnesses were called by the state during the course of the trial.

Noble will get credit for any time spent in prison while awaiting trial. Psychiatric counseling and substance abuse treatment were recommended.





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