Sheriff indicted over alleged plot to kill deputy is suspended

A North Carolina sheriff accused of helping plot the killing of his former deputy has been suspended. The attorney for Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins issued a statement Monday that said his client voluntarily agreed to the suspension as he faces felony justice obstruction charges.

Thomas C. Manning said that Wilkins denied allegations of wrongdoing and anticipates “exoneration and resumption of his duties.”

Wilkins was indicted last week. Prosecutors say Wilkins learned in 2014 that deputy Joshua Freeman planned to release a recording of him saying “racially offensive” comments. The indictment says Wilkins then spoke with an unidentified third party about killing Freeman.

Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins  WNCN

According to court documents, Wilkins allegedly told the unnamed person to “take care of it,” saying, “If you need to take care of somethin’, just take care of something,” and “the only way you gonna stop him is kill him.”

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Wilkins also allegedly coached the person about covering up a crime, saying “You ain’t got the weapon, you ain’t got nothing to go on,” and “the only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can’t tell nobody nothin’.”

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has said the indictment resulted from a 10-month investigation by state and federal authorities. Freeman took on the case from Mike Waters, the district attorney in neighboring Granville County, after Waters determined he had a conflict, according to a statement from Freeman’s office released last week.

In a November 2018 letter to Freeman, the neighboring district attorney, Waters said he had previously represented the deputy while in private practice. The deputy gave him a copy of the recording in 2014 and Waters then provided it to federal and state officials.

Waters said he didn’t know whether any investigations came of it. In the letter, Waters asked Freeman to advise state officials as to whether they should open an investigation, which Freeman did.

Wilkins has been sheriff since 2009 and was re-elected to a four-year term in 2018, reports CBS affiliate WNCN.

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