A North Carolina sheriff has been suspended after he was accused of plotting to kill a former deputy he believed was on the brink of exposing him for allegedly using racially offensive language.
Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month on two counts of felony obstruction of justice and agreed this week to step down from his post while his legal proceedings unfold.
“Sheriff Wilkins denies the allegations of wrongdoing and has agreed to the suspension while he prepares for trial. A Granville County Jury will hear and decide the case,” his attorney, Thomas Manning said in a statement, adding that his client “looks forward to his exoneration and resumption of duties.”
The suspension was prompted by allegations that Wilkins in August 2014 encouraged an unidentified man to kill Deputy Joshua Freeman, who intended to make public a recording of the sheriff using “racially offensive language,” according to the indictment cited by NBC News.
“The only way you gonna stop him is kill him,” Wilkins allegedly told the man in a recorded conversation. “If you need to take care of something, just take care of something.”
The plan to kill Freeman was never put into place, but the would-be hitman did go as far as to provide a location and time for the slaying. Wilkins also “counseled the individual on how to commit murder” so that he would be able to get away with it, according to the indictment.
“You ain’t got the weapon, you ain’t going nothing to go on,” Wilkins allegedly told the man. "They only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can’t tell nobody nothing, not a thing.”
A recording of the conversation was recently turned over to the North Carolina State Bureau investigation and the sheriff was arrested following a 10-month investigation.
According the indictment, Wilkins “failed to properly execute his duties because of his personal animosity towards Joshua Freeman.”
With News Wire Services