A grand jury has indicted the sitting Granville County, North Carolina, sheriff on two felony obstruction of justice charges, alleging the lawman ignored and encouraged a plot to kill one of his deputies, according to court documents.
Granville County Attorney James Wrenn filed a petition Monday for Sheriff Brindell Wilkins to be suspended, and the sheriff and his counsel agreed to it, Wrenn’s office said in a statement.
Chief Deputy Sherwood Boyd will temporarily fill the sheriff’s position, the statement said.
Wilkins was indicted September 16 on two felony obstruction of justice charges. Wilkins not only knew of the threat to kill the now-former deputy, Joshua Freeman, but he coached a would-be assailant on how to get away with the crime, the indictment alleges.
“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,” says the indictment, which followed a 10-month investigation.
According to the indictment, Wilkins had a “personal animosity” toward Joshua Freeman because he thought the deputy was going to disclose to authorities a recording of Wilkins using “racially offensive language.”
After learning of the recording, the indictment says, Wilkins in August 2014 told a would-be assailant, who is not named, to “take care of it.”
The indictment quotes the sheriff as saying, “If you need to take care of something, just take care of something,” and “The only way you gonna stop him is kill him.”
Wilkins also offered instruction on how to get away with the killing, saying, “You ain’t got the weapon, you ain’t got nothing to go on,” the indictment alleges.
“The only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can’t tell nobody nothing – not a thing,” the indictment quotes Wilkins as saying.
Wilkins also discussed the time and location “of where the murder might successfully occur,” according to the indictment, and at one point in the interactions, the sheriff was shown the firearm that would be used in the crime.