Talk about killing a story. A North Carolina sheriff has been indicted on charges he knew of a credible threat against a deputy but did nothing to stop it — even going so far as to encourage the wannabe killer to “take care of it” — in order to stop the deputy from releasing a recording that would reveal the sheriff using “racially insensitive language.”
According to WNCN CBS 17, Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins has been indicted in neighboring Wake County, N.C., on two counts of felony obstruction of justice.
The bizarre tale began five years ago in 2014, when prosecutors say Wilkins had a conversation about the now-former deputy, Joshua Freeman, with “an individual known to the sheriff” who was threatening to kill Freeman.
The sheriff advised the person he was speaking with to “take care of it” and said “the only way you gonna stop him is kill him,” adding instructions on how to commit the murder without being identified, court records stated.
In addition, prosecutors charged, that despite the threats the sheriff heard being made to kill the deputy during the conversation, he didn’t let the officer know or take any action.
Per the News & Observer, prosecutors charge:
“The defendant failed to properly execute his duties because of his personal animosity towards Joshua Freeman,” the indictment read, “who defendant was told had expressed an intention to publicly disclose a purported audio recording of the defendant using racially offensive language.”
The indictment did not provide details on what exactly the sheriff was purported to have said, according to the reports.
The whole sordid allegation didn’t come to the attention of authorities until last November when the Granville County district attorney, who had represented the former deputy while in private practice, brought the matter to the attention of the Wake County district attorney because he knew he “had a conflict in the matter,” WNCN explains.
After a 10-month investigation, Wilkins was indicted Monday and released on $20,000 bond.
But despite being under indictment, the officer of the law will get to keep his elected office as sheriff.
As Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman (no relation to the deputy) explained to the News & Observer, “Technically, he can continue to serve if he chooses to until convicted.”