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Sheriff Plotted to Have Deputy with ‘Racially Offensive’ Recording of Him Killed, Prosecutors Say

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A sheriff has been implicated in an unsuccessful plot to have one of his former deputies murdered. The deputy was in possession of a recording where the sheriff said “racially insensitive” things. Fearing that the deputy may release the tape, Sheriff Brindell Wilkins seemingly endorsed the killing of former deputy Joshua Freeman.

Wilkins – the sheriff of Granville County, North Carolina – was on a phone call with a “well-known” third party in 2014 that was recorded. According to a report by Slate, Wilkins voiced his concern that Freeman would release the tape of him making racists statements.

During the call, Wilkins allegedly stated, “The only way you gonna stop [Freeman] is to kill him.”

Wilkins also reportedly told the other person how to murder someone without getting caught.

“You ain’t got the weapon, you ain’t got nothing to go on,” Wilkins asserted.

He continued doling out advice, telling the person that the “only way we find out these murder things is people talk,” adding, “you can’t tell nobody nothing, not a thing.”

The person on the phone then shared with Wilkins a time and place where the murder would occur. Wilkins did not alert Freeman about the danger or take any other steps to prevent the killing. Instead, he said that he wouldn’t reveal any details about the murder after it occurred.

Ultimately, the planned murder didn’t happen. It isn’t clear why the plot failed to move forward.

Freeman came into possession of a copy of the phone call in which Wilkins discussed the murder plan and provided it to the district attorney. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation examined the threat and, due to Wilkins’ “personal animosity” toward Freeman, deemed it credible.

Based on his failure to intervene and his providing advice to the person on the call, Wilkins was indicted on two counts of felony obstruction of justice. He has since been released on bond and is still serving as sheriff at this time.

According to the prosecutor, Wilkins “can continue to serve [as sheriff] if he chooses to until convicted.”

It isn’t clear what happened to the tape of Wilkins using “racially offensive language” that was reportedly in Freeman’s possession at the time of the murder was being plotted.