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North Carolina sheriff suspended after indictment on criminal charges

A North Carolina sheriff recently indicted on allegations he ignored and encouraged a plot to kill one of his deputies has been suspended during the investigation of the criminal charges, the county attorney said.

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.

CNN has reached out to the sheriff’s office and Brindell’s attorney for comment.

Wilkins had a “personal animosity” toward Freeman because he thought the deputy was going to disclose to authorities a recording of Wilkins using “racially offensive language,” according to the indictment.

In August 2014, after learning of the recording, Wilkins told an unnamed person to “take care of it,” the indictment said.

The indictment quoted 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 some 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.

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