Court appearance scheduled for man accused of strangling, killing Vidalia Junior High School employee

Published 4:20 pm Friday, March 17, 2023

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VIDALIA, La. — A man who is believed to have strangled and killed a Vidalia Junior High School paraprofessional over a domestic dispute is scheduled to appear in the Seventh Judicial District Court of Louisiana on Wednesday, March 22.

Since his arrest in August 2022, 43-year-old Matt Lee Mason Jr. has been detained without bond in Concordia Parish.

Matt Lee Mason Jr. (Photo submitted by Vidalia Police Department)

Tyberia Bell, 50, was found deceased in her home at 605 Laurel St. on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022.

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She was employed by the school for approximately 14 years in the special education department and was loved by all of her students, according to the school’s principal Christine Washington.

Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill said the autopsy later confirmed that the cause of Bell’s death was strangulation and that she had died roughly eight hours before police found her at 10 a.m. that morning.

Police obtained a warrant from Judge John Reeves for Mason’s arrest and Mason’s employer later brought him to the police department, where he was arrested without incident, Merrill said. Mason was Bell’s ex-boyfriend, Merrill said, adding investigators believe her death resulted from a domestic dispute.

Mason has been charged with second-degree murder and, if convicted, could receive up to a life sentence without parole.

“She (Bell) was special to me and to a lot of people in this community,” Merrill said.