On Monday, Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was charged with felony obstruction of justice for a murderous plot in 2014.
The Sheriff was accused of attempting to arrange for the killing of a deputy who possessed a tape of Wilkins using "racially offensive language" and planned to release it to the public.
After learning that Deputy Joshua Freeman had the tape and planned to release it, Wilkins reportedly called an unidentified individual to begin planning.
According to the unidentified individual, Wilkins said:
"The only way you gonna stop him is kill him."
The unidentified individual also reported that Wilkins coached him on how to perform the killing so as not to get caught, including the time and the place and how to shoot Joshua Freeman.
The Sheriff reportedly said:
"You ain't got the weapon, you ain't got nothing to go on… The only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can't tell nobody nothin', not a thing."
The plot was never carried out, however.
Joshua Freeman has since left the office, though his exact date of resignation or transferral is unclear. What was included on the tape Freeman possessed is also unclear and has not been made available to the public.
Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was not charged for plotting the murder, but he was charged with not arresting the individual on his phone calls who would perform the murder.
The indictment stated:
"The defendant failed to properly execute his duties because of his personal animosity towards Joshua Freeman, who defendant was told had expressed an intention to publicly disclose to authorities a purported audio recording of the defendant using racially offensive language."
Wilkins was released on a $20,000 bond and continues to serve as Sheriff.
Until Wilkins is convicted, he legally can choose to continue to serve, according to the Wake County District Attorney, Lorrin Freeman, who is no relation to Joshua Freeman.
Though it is legally justified for Wilkins to continue to serve at this time, followers on Twitter are not convinced.
How Wilkins' time serving is observed, and what will be done about his potential conviction, remains to be seen.
It seems clear, however, that the folks in North Carolina won't be feeling as safe knowing what they know about the Granville County Sheriff.
Murder for hire is more common than people think. The true crime novel Better Off Dead: A Sordid True Story of Sex, Sin and Murder is available here.
Listen to the first four episodes of George Takei's podcast, 'Oh Myyy Pod!' where we explore the racially charged videos that have taken the internet by storm.
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