The sheriff of Granville County in North Carolina was charged Monday for plotting the murder of a deputy who allegedly had a recording of the sheriff making "racially offensive" comments, according to The Washington Post.
Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was charged with two felony counts of obstruction of justice for discussing a plan with an unnamed third person about how to kill former deputy Joshua Freeman, who was allegedly planning to go public with the recording of the racist comments.
"The only way you gonna stop him is kill him," Wilkins told the man during a 2014 phone call.
Wilkins allegedly discussed specifics of how the unnamed person could go about killing Freeman without being caught by law enforcement, advising him to make sure police don't find the weapon and to not talk about it to anyone.
"You ain't got the weapon, you ain't got nothing to go on," Wilkins allegedly told the man during a 2014 phone call. "...The only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can't tell nobody nothin', not a thing."
The man informed Wilkins of the specific time and location of the planned murder, as well as the type of weapon that would be used. Wilkins assured the man that if the murder was carried out, he would not confess to any prior knowledge of the situation.
Despite the charges, Wilkins is still the sheriff, and a prosecutor told the Post that he can technically continue serving in that role until and if he is convicted.
Authorities have been aware of this murder plot since 2014, but a series of delays and conflicts of interest has caused the case to be on hold until now, following a 10-month North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and FBI probe.
According to the indictment, Wilkins "failed to make reasonable and professional efforts to help prevent harm to victim Joshua Freeman, including failing to immediately warn Joshua Freeman of the credible threat ... or failing to effectuate an arrest of this individual," and "failed to properly execute his duties because of his personal animosity towards Joshua Freeman, who [Wilkins] was told had expressed an intention to publicly disclose to authorities a purported audio recording of the defendant using racially offensive language."
It is not known what was on the recording Freeman allegedly possessed, or what happened to it.
Wilkins is free on $20,000 bond and is due in court Oct. 9. The county commissioners are holding an emergency meeting Tuesday to address the situation.