A North Carolina sheriff has been indicted for allegedly plotting to kill one of his deputies after learning the man had a tape of him making “racially offensive” comments.
Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was indicted Monday on two counts of felony obstruction of justice for withholding knowledge of a credible threat made against Joshua Freeman and failing to take appropriate law enforcement action. The indictment came after a ten month investigation by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the FBI, according to a release from Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.
Wilkins instructed an unnamed person to murder the deputy who was planning to publicly reveal a tape of him using “racially offensive language to authorities in Raleigh” in August 2014, according to a felony indictment unsealed Monday. Wilkins allegedly said “the only way to stop him is kill him,” and encouraged the individual to “take care of it.”
The sheriff discussed the time and location where the murder might occur with the would-be assassin, according to the indictment. He also counseled him on how to avoid getting caught, telling him that if “you ain’t got the weapon, you ain’t got nothing to go on,” the indictment alleges.
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He allegedly advised him not to tell anybody and promised he wouldn’t reveal the plan to authorities.
“The only way we find out these murder things is people talk,” Wilkins said, according to court records. “You can’t tell nobody nothin’, not a thing.”
Freeman, the district attorney, told the News & Observer that Wilkinsdoesn’t have to step down yet. He has served as the county sheriff since 2009.
“Technically,” Freeman said, “he can continue to serve if he chooses to until convicted.”
Granville County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.
Wilkins was released on a $20,000 bond on Monday and will appear in Granville County court on October 9. A second investigation in allegations concerning the sheriff’s office’s “accounting practices and controlled substance interdiction efforts” is also ongoing, Freeman said.
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