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North Carolina sheriff plotted own deputy’s death, prosecutors say

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A North Carolina sheriff plotted the murder of his own deputy for threatening to publicly reveal a tape of the sheriff using “racially offensive language,” prosecutors say.

Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was charged Monday by a grand jury with two counts of felony obstruction of justice, after prosecutors say he instructed someone in 2014 to murder his deputy, hide the weapon, and say nothing about the crime.

According to the indictment, the controversy began when a former deputy, Joshua Freeman, threatened to reveal an audio recording of Wilkins’ comments to authorities in Raleigh.

Wilkins then urged an unnamed individual to kill Freeman and cover up the evidence, saying, “The only way you gonna stop him is kill him [sic]” and, “If you need to take care of somethin’, just take care of something,” the indictment said.

Wilkins also told the person to conceal the weapon and keep quiet to stave off the investigation.

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“The only way we find out these murder things is people talk,” Wilkins said, according to the indictment. “You can’t tell nobody nothin’. Not a thing.”

It’s unclear from the indictment what offensive comments Wilkins was accused of making, and whether the audio recording Freeman threatened him with was ever released. The 2014 plot was never carried out and Freeman was not murdered.

The grand jury also accused Wilkins of “withholding knowledge of a credible threat” against Freeman and failing to alert authorities and investigate the potential crime.

Wilkins has served as sheriff since 2009 and was most recently re-elected in 2018. He’s still listed as the sheriff on Granville County’s website, and his office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the charges against him.

He has been released from custody on $20,000 bond, The News & Observer reported.

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