GRANVILLE COUNTY, N.C. – Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins says he will not step down even though he is facing two felony charges. This comes after investigators say he knew about a death threat issued against a former deputy and did nothing with that information.

  • Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins has been arrested and charged after investigators say he knew about threats against a former deputy and didn't tell anybody.
  • Wilkins has been accused of having animosity toward the deputy due to a recording they possessed of him using racially offensive language. 
  • Wilkins has refused to step down.
  • STAY INFORMED: Sign up for our breaking news and weather text alerts

Wake County DA Lorrin Freeman, who was asked to step in by the Granville County DA, says that a 10-month investigation by the SBI and the FBI found that five years ago Wilkins found out that a deputy by the name of Joshua Freeman had a recording of him using racially offensive language. 


Documentation shows that a third party made a threat to kill Freeman, and was encouraged by “key phrases” and counseling on how to get away with the murder by Wilkins.

Additionally, Wilkins did not report the threat, or inform Deputy Freeman that they had been made.

"He may decide himself to resign now that he's facing these charges. There are also some state law procedures that would allow him to be removed by petition and a hearing before a superior court judge," said Freeman.

Wilkins has said that he will not be resigning from his position.

The county attorney, Jim Wrenn, is looking into removing the sheriff from his post. Even if he's not removed, there are other options.

"A lot of times in civil precedings people say we need to wait for criminal proceedings. But there is a provision on who can bring the case and the judge is allowed to suspend the sheriff upon making certain findings pending an actual  trial on this case, and then the county commissioner can appoint a temporary sheriff pending that case," said former legislative counsel Gerry Cohen.

Wilkins' fate could be determined by a regulation instated more than a century ago.

Cohen says Wilkins' indictment is enough to send him to court.

"The statute is there to allow removal of sheriff. One of 6 causes is in fact conviction of felony. Others are some of the things in his indictment, like willful misconduct, corruption, willful neglect or refusal to perform duties of his office...some of them match the charges in his indictment," adds Cohen.

This could be the only way to remove Wilkins without impeachment, which has never happened in North Carolina.

The investigation has led to other areas of the sheriff's office to get investigated. The FBI and SBI are now looking into accounting and drug interdiction practices.

Wilkins is facing two felony charges for obstruction of justice. He is currently out on bond. He's set to go back to court next month.

Get instant severe weather alerts to your phone and email. Click here to sign up!