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Sheriff Hewett indicted with embezzlement, obstruction

READ MORE: Sheriff Hewett indicted with embezzlement, obstruction
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BOLIVIA -- Removed from office last week, Brunswick County Sheriff Ron Hewett was indicted on four criminal charges today.

Hewett's problems have grown dramatically since a federal investigation was launched in June. As that process was dragging on in Raleigh, many of Hewett's own deputies were helping to amass a case against him here at home.

Ron Hewett entered the courtroom flanked by his lawyers -- a courtroom with many of his supporters present.

But this time Hewett sat on the defendant's side of the room, the prosecutor not his ally but his accuser.

Angie Robinson said she wasn't there for the sheriff, she was there for her lifelong friend "Ronnie" and to hear if his suspension would be made permanent. That would become the lesser of his problems.

 

more on the hewett story here...

There was a stunning shift of directions in that courtroom. What started as a hearing on his suspension turned into a presentation of criminal charges against Ron Hewett: three counts of embezzlement and one count of obstruction of justice -- all of which carry lengthy prison terms if convicted.

 

The three embezzlement counts by a public official involve using more than $1,300 in county money to paint campaign signs, guard his home and do work on his property.

The obstruction count accuses Hewett of ordering a detective not to arrest a relative of the sheriff in a child molestation case because it could be politically damaging.

Some were surprised by the timing.

District Attorney Rex Gore said, "The criminal process and the petition to remove were moving on parallel tracks. We got the petition to remove ready last week and filed that knowing we had scheduled the grand jury hearing for the true bills that were returned today."

As deputies looked on, the man who had been their boss was ordered not to have contact with any of them who had sworn affidavits against him. All guns were ordered removed from his possession, and Judge Ola Lewis set a $25,000 secured bond.

Ron Hewett had nothing to say as he and his wife left the court house, but those who watched the proceedings had some strong opinions.

Courtroom spectator Erica Ramsey said, "I'm glad that they got him on this, and I wish someone would look -- it goes farther than this, I'm pretty sure."

Courtroom spectator Joyce Elliott said, "I'm sick at heart. I've know Ronnie for a long time. I was a fifth grade teacher when he was a DARE officer. He did a lot of good things for Brunswick County. If he was guilty I'd have to hear him admit it to believe it."

Unless there's some kind of plea bargain deal looming, that will become the task of a jury.

Hewett could face more than 12 years in prison if convicted on all counts. No charges have yet been filed in the federal investigation.

The hearing on his suspension has been rescheduled for May 5. County Coroner Greg White will continue as acting sheriff in the interim.

Hewett suspended Thursday

Hewett was suspended Thursday night after Rex Gore filed a petition for his removal. The grounds: neglect or refusal to perform the duties of his office, willful misconduct or maladministration in office, extortion and intoxication.

Gore presented a binder full of evidence to back up the charges. It includes more than 20 affidavits, most of them from deputies and most of them containing some damning statements. There were also supporting photos and audio recordings of Hewett's activities. Gore said some of Hewett's own deputies were instrumental in building this case.

"They had begun the process before we joined forces with our investigation," Gore said.

Several deputies arriving for work at the Sheriff's Office in Bolivia Friday morning had no comment for NewsChannel 3 about their boss's suspension.

Gore's evidence includes several phone calls between Hewett and other members of the Sheriff's Office. In a call with Capt. Kevin Holden on August 16, 2007, Hewett appears to speak of suicidal plans as he tells Holden that many of Hewett's friends won't take or return his calls in the midst of an investigation of the sheriff by a federal grand jury.

(Listen)

"I know you are down," Holden tells the Sheriff. "I'm trying to bring you back up."

Hewett responds: "There ain't no bringing me back up. I'm looking for a bank robbery in (expletive deleted) progess. That's what I want."

Hewett won't explain what he means by looking for a bank robbery. But several minutes later, he brings it up again, telling Holden that dying would be better than what he was going through.

(Listen)

"I'm telling you, something's (expletive deleted) up. And they think I know it," Hewett said. "I don't know it. And go ahead and kill me. Take the .357 and kill my ass. Like I said, I'm looking for me a damn bank, man. Mitch Prince got a hell-of-a lot better end then I did."

Mitch Prince was a Boiling Spring Lakes police officer killed in the line of duty in January 2005.

Hewett has been the target of a closely guarded federal investigation for several months. A host of people have been called to testify before a federal grand jury in Raleigh. Gore says this removal is unrelated to that investigation. Although some of the allegations may overlap, this was a separate action. Gore says per state law, county coroner Greg White is serving as acting sheriff.

The affidavits in the book of evidence tell repeated stories of misconduct. Capt. Gene Caison grew up with Hewett. He details numerous instances of deputies on county time being used to do manual labor on Hewett's property or forced to work on Hewett's campaign signs and fundraisers. Caison also details highly erratic conduct by the sheriff.

Other deputies and a SBI agent detail numerous incidents where Hewett showed up to crime scenes intoxicated and interfered with investigations. In once case, Hewett allegedly arrived at a home where a man had barricaded himself inside. With the SWAT team on the scene, witnesses say an apparently intoxicated Hewett kicked down the front door and went into the home with his teenage son Justin.

There are also several pages devoted to county money and resources spent on Hewett's son Justin from the time Justin was a teenager, including Hewett assigning a vehicle belonging to the Sheriff's Office to his son, even after Justin Hewett had been hired as a police officer in Holden Beach. Witnesses also say Hewett requested his son be certified to use firearms and that Justin was seen at times carrying a badge and other BCSO equipment, even though he was too young to be a deputy.

Other allegations include:

  • Hewett sexually harassed several female employees.
  • Hewett used racial epithets.
  • Hewett ordered deputies to buy and deliver alcohol to him.
  • Hewett denied a request by a deputy to search a neighborhood for Billy Wade Russ, a missing man, who was later found in a neighbors yard, just feet from Russ's own property.
  • Hewett arrived drunk at the scene of a submerged car in October 2005 and that his son Justin removed the body of Kendrick Sparrow from the car against established investigative protocol. Investigators found that Sparrow had been shot before his car ran off the road.

A hearing on the removal petition is set for Monday at noon. At that point Hewett can argue to have it overturned. If his removal is upheld, it would fall upon the Brunswick County Democratic party to pick a new sheriff.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Don't forget he is a criminal

I beleive that Ron Hewitt has dne alot of things for brunswick county, but please remember he is being charged with a felony. His deputies did the right thing by turning him in. I am sure he knew in his heart that he was going to get caught eventually!! And yes I am sure that his family reads all this and hears what peole are saying, but they probably knew what he was doing wrong also. His job was to catch criminals, he is not above the law, he did something wrong and now he should pay the price!!

***COMPASSION ANYONE?***

FOR ANY OF YOU READING THIS WHO DON'T WORK FOR BRUNSWICK COUNTY GOVERNMENT I HAVE A NEWS FLASH AND REMINDER FOR ALL OF YOU**** THOSE IN GLASS HOUSES SHOULDN'T THROW STONES!!! SECONDLY, FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT HAVE MADE COMMENTS IN REGARDS TO HIM BEING FIRED OR SOMEONE ELSE WANTING HIS JOB JUST LET ME STATE IT AS SIMPLE AS I CAN, **IF THESE INCIDENTS IN QUESTION HAPPENED THE WAY THEY DID, THEN WHY ARE THEY JUST BEING BROUGHT UP NOW? IF YOU HAVE BEEN APPOINTED BY THE SHERRIFF TO BE A DEPUTY, THEN IT IS KNOWN YOU ARE AT THE DISPOSAL OF THE SHERRIFF, IF YOU DIDN'T LIKE THE WAY HE DID THINGS , OR HOW HE HANDELED SITUATIONS THEN REMOVE YOURSELF AND BECOME A DEPUTY SOMEWHERE ELSE,....THEY SAY NEW HANOVER COUNTY , WILMINGTON PD AND LELAND IS HIRING!! IF YOU CALL YOUSELF SOMEONES LIFE LONG FRIEND AND YOU ARE TO BE THERE FOR SOMEONE, AS A TRUE FRIEND YOU ARE THERE FOR GOOD, BAD, RIGHT, WRONG OR INDIFFERENT! YOU DO NOT STAB SOMEONE IN THE BACK WITH THE BIGGEST KNIFE YOU CAN FIND! I BELIEVE HE HAS DONE ALOT OF GOOD FOR BRUNSWICK COUNTY, FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH IT, THEN EITHER YOU ARE AN INDIVIDUAL WHO HAS MOST LIKELY BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME IN BRUNSWICK COUNTY! OR, YOU MAY BE ONE OF THOSE NON TAX PAYERS WHO ACTUALLY THINK YOUR OPINION MATTERS....MAYBE YOU ARE JUST ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO AREN'T REGISTERD TO VOTE, AND ONCE AGAIN , YOUR OPINION DOESN'T AMOUNT TO MUCH! KEEP IN MIND, HE HAS BEEN SHERRIFF FOR A LONG TIME, AND BELIEVE ME, I KNOW (FOR CERTAIN) THERE ARE PLANS IN THE WORKS FOR A NEW SHERRIFF IN TOWN! LETS JUST PRAY IF INDEED THAT IS WHAT OCCURS THAT HE CLEANS HOUSE AND APPOINTS NEW DEPUTIES! THERE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH BLOOD ON THE HANDS OF THE ACCUSERS TO PROSECUTE THEM JUST AS FAST AS EVERYONE HAS HEWETT.....BEFORE PEOPLE GET IN SUCH A RUSH TO CLEAN SOMEONE ELSES CLOSET, THEY MIGHT JUST WANT TO CLEAN THEIR OWN!

Oh, So you think the deputies should move????OMG

Smartness, you obviously need a new screenname..... I can't believe that you are saying that the deputies should move if they dont like whats going wrong with the dept. that they work for. How crazy is that...Those deputies are standing up for what is right. I guess you would prefer that they move where you can live in ignorant bliss... Somethings terribly wrong if you are trashing 22 people to protect the ONE man that is accused of these things...You all ask why did the deputies wait until now to say something....The answer is that they had to come together and provide evidence or else they would have no case...If one deputy tried to stand up against the Sheriff I wonder how many people would have believed that one deputy?? You all won't even believe the 22 that came forward. You could bet your money that the deputy would have been fired for standing up for himself & the citizens. You all are treating Hewett as if he is God and can do no wrong. Just remember that those deputies stood up not only for themselves, but for the citizens of Brunswick county...

I hope the people that are

I hope the people that are too blind to see, can see good enough to read this!!!!!! May we all stand before a merciful judge!!!

is ron going to rob bb&t and run

lock him up now, hes a flight risk.

"Ron" can get more at the

"Ron" can get more at the bank than a robber, and WALK, Today!!!

THANK YOU JESUS . HEWETT IS GONE

THANK GOD!!!! Maybe now with Hewett out of office we can get DRUGS out of Brunswick County. He claimed to be arreasting drug dealers but if you kept up with the court dockets all the dealers getting arrested were back out on the streets in a month, still supplying to the county. I pray now we can get help for these people who are addicted to drugs, because now maybe they wont be so easy to get. I say give Hewett time, he was suppose to be an example to the citizens and the children of our county.

We could get the dealers out

We could get the dealers out of the county , if the court system, let me say it again, if the court system kept them behind bars....

Blame Ronald for everything!

Ronald's job was to get them off the streets and that's what he did. You need to blame that on the judges and the DA!

I don't know if you are

I don't know if you are aware, but it is the job of the BCSO to arrest the criminals. If they made it to the Court docket, then they did their job. It then becomes the DA's job to prosecute the criminals. If they are out on the street in a month, blame the DA or the Court system, not Ron Hewett.

Drug dealers out on the street

Will people get REAL whether it is Brunswick County or anywhere in the United States - law enforcement arrests and if you look at the dockets you will see the number of arrests (that is the Sheriff doing his job) getting back out on the street has more to do with Mr. Gore our "wonderful" district attorney's office making plea bargains and judges going easy on drug dealers. Only when the DA and the Courts start being as hard on criminals as they are on Sheriff Hewett will we see any movement in the drug area. If Sheriff Hewett is guilty of 3 felonies and obstruction of justice try reading the indictments - the embezzlement charge has to do with employees supposedly working on the re-election campaign when they were getting paid by the County etc READ THE INDICTMENTS before commenting the grand total "embezzled" is no more than $1400.00. I happen to be campaigning for someone in 2006, weren't those your employees out their campaigning MR. GORE during working hours???? Pot calling the kettle Black. I am sure for these so called charges there should be a lot more "elected officials" being charged. What a bunch of horse manure!

Blinders need to come off...

You guys really have your blinders on when it comes to Ronald Hewett. I know him personally and I have for years. I know first hand what kind of person he is. Puts in little work but always shows up when the cameras arrive. Anyway, to those of you who want to blame it all on the courts as to why the drug dealers rome free..this is first hand information..bc all they want to do is bust the little guys. They want to bust the addicts, the ones buying the drugs..not the ones selling the drugs. YEAH..if u look in the court docs what you see are a whole bunch of possession charges. I have never been to jail, never been charged with so much of a speeding ticket. I am a tax paying citizen in BC and have been all my life, and I have voted since I was 18 years old. (that was in response to the person who thinks if you don't like Ronald you have to be a criminal..lol) I have seen first hand where people have told detectives who they bought the drugs from, who the key dealers in the area were..and the detetectives reply to be "yeah, we know all about him..but he is who supplies us with all our information about buyers and stolen goods". Wanna know what that is all about? It looks better to solve cases like those rather than stacking up possession charges. It looks better at campaign time, if you catch my drift. You people really are snowballed when it comes to Sheriff Hewett. I just really hate his family is going thru this. Well maybe not Justin bc he seems to be as big a power tripper as his daddy. But for Jessica and Julie..my prayers are with you both for enduring such unneccesary strife.

Amen my friend, thank

Amen my friend, thank goodness someone understands what is happening where they live! Sounds like you belong here!!

IN REF.TO SOBER ABOUT DRUG COMMENT

Well first of all this has nothing to do with a Fire Department i thought this board was on Ronald Hewett but i guess that goes to show everyone that pointing fingers at people wont get you anywhere unless it got you out the door or something please do share....

AGREE WITH OTHER CITIZENS ABOUT FIRE DEPARTMENTS

well i dont know about all fire departments; but i feel they are a few more in the local area that needs to be looked at too; in my opinion. The head of emergency services should look into doing random drug and alcohol screenings on several departments, like Waccamaw, maybe Supply, and a few more too. If they do this, they will eliminate trouble that will come from what is in these departments, as so called first responders, or firefighters that can bring harm to citizens in their community. Possibly because of their lifestyles, so citizens need to be alerted to what travels our roads in emergency vehichles.

Reinstate Hewett

Are you flipping kidding

Are you flipping kidding me????

calling the kettle black

I don't live in this county but, everything I have ever heard about this man has been good. I think the people that have thrown him under the bus. Need to have a hard look at also, Why did they throw him under the bus, and what do they get out of this? Please keep in mind if he did do this than he needs to be held to the law. but, remember people he has a family and he is also a father. Keep them in your prayers. Lets all step back and get both sides to everything. And note to the TV channels play more of the phone calls. Not just the couple of lines. ...

Good-Bye Ronald

I Love you....I will miss our times together...!!! I promise I will come visit you in Jail..You were always special to me, Especially after my husband died...Our times together will be the best moments of my Life...LOVE YOU.!!!!

Ronald E. Hewett

Im not saying his remarks or statements are not wrong or his actions.They are throwing him under the bus he is not getting a fair and balance side of the story.He has been our Sheriff for 15 years and he has taken drugs off the street and made Brunswick County a safe place.This man has a good heart and means well I dont want him to go down like this.We all make mistakes but this man has done way more good then bad.I do not want him to be remembered for a few mistakes.This seems like a inside job to remove this man from office.No one said being Sheriff of a County is easy and yes he pissed off alot of people but he put alot of crackheads, robbers, murders and bad people in jail and that is what I want from my Sheriff.His own friends and deputys recorded his private phone calls and then turned the tapes over to the local District Attorney now keep in mind how many people Sheriff Hewett arrested and this same District Attorney put in jail.I can not stand by and watch these people ruin this mans life.We all know that the Brunswick County Sheriffs Office was run like the (good old boy system)but the same good old boys have turned against him so if he goes down then lets take down everyone.North Carolina has 100 counties and if I went to every Sheriffs Department in this state I would find former and active deputys that do not like there Sheriff and they could tell storys off the things there Sheriff has done.Brunswick County is one of the fasting growing counties in the state with a low crime rate but now lets see how the crime rises.Please remember I voted for Ronald Hewett not the deputys that work for him stop and think do they have something to hide. Thanks for your time Chris..........North Carolina

our streets are clean? mmmkay

Oh lord... he took drugs off the streets? If you drive by any drug area they are standing on the street selling them! Open your eyes! He has photo opportunities, not any real results. The cops spend more time arresting the addicts than the actual dealers-check the jail. Possession charges abound. They don't go into the Quarters-they pull people over who are leaving the Quarters in hopes of finding drugs. More individuals=more money. As well as more opportunity to claim jail overcrowding. Do some research and see how many people in the jail have actually been to court. Do you people realize that innocent until proven guilty does not exist here? The majority of the those locked up have not been convicted of anything, yet they live day to day in Ronald Hewett's man made hell, often not even aware of their court dates-until they get a failure to appear charge because they weren't taken down the short hallway to the courthouse for their scheduled hearings. As far as why this is happening now even though they knew? The former sheriff was dirty, but the detectives are dirtier. Falsifying evidence, coercing defendents and witnesses, obtaining false warrants... the list goes on and on. The snitches are singing because they are SCARED. As well they should be. This is all disgusting. They all need to be investigated.

in reply to our streets clean

Oh yeah, real smart, they are testifying against Hewett because they want to lose their jobs too. That's why they started all of this... You're so funny... not

In Reply to Chris

Chris, You need to take off the rose-colored glasses. This IS NOT the result of a personal vendetta against this man. This is also NOT the result of somebody wanting his job. You do not know, or you DO NOT WANT TO KNOW what it has been like to work for Mr. Hewett. Yes you could go to every county in the State and find unhappy employees. But what you won't find is an entire department (essentially) speaking out as a unified voice saying they are fed up with it. You might get one or two dissenters but you have to admit that things are bad when so many people are coming out and speaking up. Also, these are only the local charges, more are coming and those will be from higher up the totem pole of justice. Or do you think the FBI has a personal grievance with him as well? It's all a big conspiracy to get Mr. Hewett fired.... No, it isn't. He fired himself when he started violating the very law he swore to uphold. This is a perfect example of 'what goes around, comes around'. He has been treating his employees like dirt AND breaking the law. So defend him if you like but remember that the good people that are speaking up are doing so to provide you with a better public service, not that you'd want an honest, law-abiding sheriff... nah, you wouldn't want that would you? In the end Brunswick County will be better off with a sheriff that offers encouragement, recognition and decency to his employees. One that respects the rule of law and doesn't think he's the only one that's worth a damn.

CLEAN HOUSE IN BRUNSWICK COUNTY

I feel that the whole Brunswick County Sheriff's Department needs to be overhauled. Why did it take so long for these deputies to come forward? In my opinion, it wasn't for the sake of the citizens of Brunswick County, but for those deputies that loved the job enough to continue keeping his secrets. They should be held accountable for their actions too, no plea bargains for the holy upholders of the law. I guess they continued to work for Sheriff Hewett for all the extra fringe benefits. The kids that looked up to Ronald Hewett are the ones that will be affected; we teach them to respect law enforcement and corruption is all around them. How can we through stones only at Ronald, when his department was aware of all of his misdeeds?

I agree with all you

I agree with all you said,but you are telling me nobody had the guts to go to him and tell him to chill out.I read that some of these deputys went to grade school with him and they did not have the b***s to stand up to him.I have good friends that I grew up with and if Im wrong they will tell me.And you cant tell me half the Sheriffs Dept in this state dont the same problems Brunswick Co has.Ok lets be fair if Sheriff Hewett goes lets get rid of all the Capt. Lt. Sgt. and start clean you cant tell me the only one with dirty hands is Ronald Hewett COME ON!!!

But

If your friends tell you you're wrong, you're not holding the power to fire them at will...The Sheriff does. And no, I don't think half of the Sheriff's Offices in the state have the same problem..if they did, the same thing would be happening to them sooner or later. Until it can be proved that all of the Staff was in on it, then not a whole can be said. It appeared to be the main problem the current and former employees had was his alcohol and drug abuse by coming to the scenes of crimes,etc while under the influence. I don't believe there is anyone that can say anything bad about him the first half of his terms...but later it seems something went wrong with Hewett and he was not himself. Irregardless of these facts, if he broke the law he should be held accountable.

Evidence

He is the one they have the evidence against.

Ronald-and the deer stand.

The deer stand incident is hysterical....

Bye Bye Ron #2

This is what happens when you promote cousins over intelligence. Bet you wish you promoted me now, Thanks Ronnie! By the way hows the yard looking.

Drugs

Now that we are cleaning up the county. Can we get the drugs out of the volunteer fire departments namely Supply? Firemen are public servants also, they should be held to the same standards as everyone else.