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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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Prayers for Ronald Hewett & Families

I pray constantly for Ronald Hewett and families. He helped me tremendously in my heart and soul by saving my life and solved the murderous slaying of my niece Carla Bussard on 9-5-2006. Life will never be the same but thank goodness for people in Brunswick County and New Hanover County, N. C., they all are very good people to me. I have to say WWAY Channel 3 News and Blue Line Radio is and was terrific. I wish everyone a wonderful and blessed day. I am alive and thanks to you all. Glenda Campbell Goedde

To Gene & Das

Gene and Das, you two are a trip! I like reading your comments!

Forgotten ones

In all of our critisism lets not forget there are some deputies out there that work for our county that do and truly love to do thier job.I think that they should all know that even though there is problems in the camp,we still appreciate the job that they do!!!!So to all the other Ladies and Gentleman whom answer the road calls and serve the civil papers in this county,you are the heart of the BCSO, so keep up the good work and may God bless you all!!!

He did nothing for this county.

I keep hearing people say how much he did for this county.... What did he do? The crime rate is just as high, the drugs are still sold in open market. I don't understand what your talking about. Because some high profile arrest have been made??? That's the job he is paid to do. I know he had a God complex, but it is a shame others thought of him the same way. As for all you so called christians that say we should pray for him...I have. I prayed that he would be removed from office and guess what? He's outta there.

I'm a recovering drug addict

I'm a recovering drug addict and Ronnie Hewitt has been taking money from dealers in Longwood and PineCrest for years, why do you think the sheriffs never go there? Those neighborhoods are nothing but little crack towns...NOTHING but, believe me.I know of some craziness in Brunswick County pulled off by Hewitt and I hope they keep digging.

he did nothing for this country

AMEN AMEN AND AMEN!!!!!!

justice

I completely agree with you. I could'nt have said it better. Yeah,"What did he do?" Crime is worser now than it's ever been.

Good to See It In Print Court Docket

Superior HEWETT,RONALD,EMERY / / 05/08/2008 000B AM 2008CRS001715 Superior HEWETT,RONALD,EMERY / / 05/08/2008 000B AM 2008CRS001716 Superior HEWETT,RONALD,EMERY / / 05/08/2008 000B AM 2008CRS001717 Superior HEWETT,RONALD,EMERY / / 05/08/2008 000B AM 2008CRS001718

Could it be perhaps that he

Could it be perhaps that he was a part of that crime, hmmm????

About time

It's about time they nailed him. Before you can enforce the law you have to clean house. Why did some of these past Chief Deputy Sheriffs not do their job and report him ?? They knew what was going on ?? Why ??

BECAUSE!

Every day or too your question come up. "Why did they wait so long". With all due respect, it astounds me at the numbers of people that do not know the law of the land when it comes to any elected Sheriff, anywhere in this country. The law, supported by a long ago Supreme court simply states that the Sheriff, being elected, has the right to insure the people working for him are on his team. Otherwise, he would not be able to carry out the mandate of the people that elected him. In short, he has the right to fire, at will, without giving any cause whatsoever. In short, I don't like you is good enough. In short, you are fired and I am not going to even tell you why, is good enough! THAT IS THE LAW! If one, two or three had said a word, and it did not work out, they would be gone! They, like most of us have families and obligations. In short, until they had enough to turn over and until there were enough willing to take the chance, and until they felt they had an even chance, it would have been curtains for them to step up and do this. How many times does this FACT have to be explained? Have you ever heard the term, "just cause"? That term does not exist at this or any other Sheriff's Department! That is why! My God man, there have been more than one movie made about whistle blowers. Why would they make movies about that kind of thing? Because it is unusual, that is why! Most people, for good reason, don't have the guts to risk their careers. They did. I don't ask, why did it take so long? I say, thanks for risking it all!

They are guilty also

Probably because they are just as guilty...I wouldn't be surprised if some of those that have turned in Hewett are guilty and just trying to save their own butts

HAHAHAHAHA ho this is very

HAHAHAHAHA ho this is very entertaining but I must say what goes around. Comes around you all can pray can wish dish out the b/s even can sing HAHAHA But he will get reemed due to his own self I could care less about the guy I think he is a redneck low life give a redneck money power and this is what happens so this bud's for you Brunswick county live lamers

Ronald Hewett - You are in my prayers, Huntsville, Alabama

GOOD MORNING! This morning when I wakened, And saw the sun above. I sofly said, "Good morning, Lord, Bless everyone I love." And, right away I thought of you, And said a loving prayer. That He would bless you specially, And keep you free from care. I thought of all the happiness A day could hold in store. I wished it all for you because No one deserves it more. Ron I would like to meet you someday and thank you for a job well done. GOD loves you more. With Love and Gods Healing and Blessings. The Alabama identical twins, Linda Lou and Glenda Sue have you in our prayers. Think about your life and families to take care of and what will be sometimes is hurting but you will WIN and survive this and be a stronger person and maybe your life will take another road and help people and I have read and I keep in touch and have been since Carla Lea Painter Bussard was given back to me and is buried in Huntsville, Alabama by her grandparents. Please remember there are people out here walking beside you and talk to positive people and keep smiling and have joy because we do not know how long our life will be from day to day. GOD will not give you no more than you can bear. I know this when I lost my child who is part of me and I do want to thank all your detectives, deputies and SWAT team and Rex Gore, and all his staff and even your North Carolina Governor Mike Easley and staff returned my call for help and gave me the advice I needed to not give up and keep trying to get all my closure and answers about the HOMICIDE 9-5-2006 in Supply, Becky's, Brunswick County, NC. People do not realize how much hurt and pain you have when you are in my shoes on this case and it will be for the rest of my life but I will come back to your wonderful state and have a great day when I get there and and return home and tell all my family members who are beside me all the way and I have so many friends in your Brunswick County today and that is a precious gift from GOD. Have a happy day. Lots of Hugs and Prayers. State positive and keep your head up and be proud of who you are and always will be no matter what road you are taking in these days ahead, but you are strong and you will survive.

Well guess what Linda Lou

Well guess what Linda Lou and Glenda Sue, he's going DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We all live in a very close

We all live in a very close knit community and for the life of me I can't understand people actually being happy about what has happened to the Sheriff. Even if you have been arrested numerous times, don't you feel badly for his mama (EVERYONE'S English teacher) The friends and family of all the people involved. The sons and daughters of those people that use to be like brothers and sisters. This has affected more than the Sheriff and his family. It affects the children of those primarily involved in this petition in so many ways. People please stop and think before you say hurtful things.

Haha

I think it's so funny how you all wanna bring him down. The ones who we're behind this are about to get their's too. I happen to know a few of them(crack heads, whores, etc...)and can't wait until the new sheriff come's in and filters out that trash. Remember "He who is without sin shall cast the first stone."...SO basically none of us have room to talk. Those power hungry, no good petitioners will get theirs. Because if they didn't have Ronald's back..then what would make the new Sheriff think they'll have his? Haha...keep hating him, they'll get their's back and it will slap them in the face even harder. Find someone else to destory, or keep your freaking comments to yourself, just because he's held to a higher standard means he has to be picked on??? Yeah, well he saved their asses, and did alot for this messed up county, wait until the new Sheriff, I hope he hates you all!!!

Sin

Then you must be without sin, because it almost sounds like you're doing exactly what you're telling others they should not do.

Last laugh on them

I agree Beth Anne. Well said. Sheriff Hewett did the low lifes a favor by keeping them on. With a new sheriff on board, maybe he'll clean house. Can't wait to see everyone of those names who've sworn petty affidavits on welfare...i.e.Sheriff's son took school supplies???! Come on Cindy Lou, is that the best you can do? How many pens have you lost, misplaced, lent to others, etc. Get real!

Here's a good question for

Here's a good question for ya! How long do you think Caison and Holden will continue to trust one another?

beth anne

"I hope he hates you all" That's a very intelligent statement. I am sure Ronnie is glad your on his side. We all have room to talk....He is an elected official, and thus we have the right to judge his performance in office. Guess what? He has been found lacking in his performance as sheriff. He is gone, and I can assure you he will not be back. You quote the bible and then end your statement by saying you "Hope he hates you all" what an ignorant statement. Take the time to remove your head from Ronalds ass and you will find the world to be a much different place than you thought.

Beth anne

How old are you Dear? Does your Mommy know you are online and that you know crack head's & whore's? Sounds like you have unsavory acquaintances. A new sheriff would know what he/she is coming into and be prepared for the task. That is what professional people do. They work as a team. One person who thinks they are above or better than the rest will ruin it, just like Hewett has done here. If Hewett lead by example then perhaps other officers fell into wrong doing as well. It will come out and they will be removed. Lets NOT forget folks.....LEO's are not above us, they work for us, we pay them.

Das Weibstruck

Very well but, but they walk beside us too. For the most part I believe that LEO's are just hard working men and women, they want to do they best they can do. When that is hampered by a someone at the top, it becomes impossible for them to do their job properly. I truly hope that the LEO's in Brunswick County know that we are there for them. There are many, many good LEO's in the Sheriff's department, may they be safe while they perform their duties.

DW

That comment about LEO working for us, that we pay them....is very old. You pay taxes and some of the tax money goes to pay for LEO. But LEO also pay taxes so I guess they work for themselves as well. Beth made one good point....there are several deputies in that Dept that will be looking for a new job, or a new cell-mate. I really hope that when Hewett goes down, he takes the rest with him. Hewett made his own bed and he will have to lie in it...but I have no doubts that there are several other deputies that are hoping Hewett goes quietly. Probably some of those that came foward are the most worried. They probably felt like if they came forward it would save them later on. Good luck with that

leo

May be an old statement but, true. They do work for us, for the decent law abiding citizens anyway. In no way are they above us nor should they feel as if they are in anyway, if they start thinking that way then they need to be replaced. The deputies that went along will be pointed out I am sure. This investigation is huge and being done by people with no personal interest. You can not police yourself as we all know.

Beth Ann, if Mr. Hewett has

Beth Ann, if Mr. Hewett has done what he is accused of then he brought this on himself. Your "he without sin" crap doesn't cut it, sister. I have PLENTY of room to talk. I'm not the one out on bail. I am not the one who abused my office and my officers. Maybe he did do a lot for the county but you cant look at the bad and illegal stuff he has done and call it a wash, cause its not. He's looking like a criminal now too same as the ones he arrested and if he is really guilty of all this then he deserves to be punished.

You and it are not funny!

You think this is funny? You getting a laugh or two. There is nothing funny about this. One bad cop, two, three, fifty. It ain't funny! It is not funny to Hewett I am sure. It is not funny to any LEO. And, it sure is not funny to the public at large. Just like fishing, you get some and some get away. But those that get away may get on the hook another day. But you do not throw back one because others are still in the pond. You take that one and then you go after the others. And there are others, I agree. Not just in the Sheriff's department either. One good thing about all this is public awareness and arousal. I am looking forward to seeing yet another go down and the people that put him there! Although I want to see that justice done, I don't think it is funny. It is a travesty. Any dirty cop is a travesty. To the public yes, but just as much if not more so to good and ethical law enforcement officers. So sleep good at night Mr. Ha ha. and when you are in need or your family is in danger, maybe your type of cop will show up. I hope if that happens, you find it real funny!

COMMENT TO SMARTNESS

THIS IS MY OPINION AND NOT AN ARGUEMENT AND I HOPE EVERYONE WILL SEE WHERE I AM COMING FROM.I HAVE IN THE PAST BEEN A VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER AND A FIRE CHIEF OF A VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT AND IT IS LEFT UP TO THE NON PROFIT FIRE DEPARTMENT TO DO DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING.THE DEPARTMENT I WAS WITH DID NOT DO DRUG TESTING AND MOST LIKELY THERE ARE MORE DEPARTMENTS THAT DON'T,BUT IT IS GOING TO GET TO THE POINT WHERE IF THEY DON'T DO IT AND THERE IS AN ACCIDENT WITH A RESCUE VEHICLE OR A ERRATIC FIREFIGHTER/RESCUER ON A SCENE THAT CAUSES ALOT OF PROBLEMS AND POSSIBLY CAUSES YOU OR THEIRSELF TO GET HURT AND THERE ARE NO DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING ,THEN THE DEPARTMENT, COMMUNITY,COUNTY AND STATE TAXPAYERS ARE GOING TO LOSE ALOT OF MONEY IN LAWSUITS FORM ACCIDENTS INVOLVED WITH ABUSERS TO SUBSTANCES THAT WAS NEVER CAUGHT BECAUSE OF NO TESTING REQUIREMENTS.

MY COMMENT TO Guest452322

I TOO HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AND EMS IN A DIFFERENT COUNTY! I DO AGREE WITH YOU 100%. MY ORIGINAL COMMENT WAS AIMED AT MAKING THE POINT THAT COUNTY EMPLOYEES (EMS,911,AND JUST A FEW OTHERS) WHOSE CHECKS ARE SIGNED BY THE COUNTY MANAGER ARE REQUIRED TO DRUG TEST PRIOR TO EMPLOYMENT AND AT ANY TIME DURING THERE EMPLOYMENT MAY BE RANDOMLY SELECTED TO TEST AGAIN! I WAS ORIGINALLY SPEAKING TO SOMEONE WHO POSTED THE COMMENTS OF SOME OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENTS BEING TESTED! I EXPLAINED THAT THEY WERE NOT ALL COUNTY PAYROLLED EMPLOYEES, SO PRETTY MUCH I WAS TRYING TO MAKE THE POINT THAT WHEREAS ITS PRETTY EASY TO THROW EVERY AGENCY UNDER THE BUS FOR THIS OR THAT, THAT IN FACT, THE VOLUNTEERS OF BRUNSWICK COUNTY SHOULD BE LEFT OUT OF IT. THEY HAVE CHOSEN TO VOLUNTEER ON THEIR OWN, THEY GIVE UNSELFISHLY AND FOR THEM TO GET PULLED INTO PATHETIC POLITICAL COUNTY MESSES, IS UNFAIR!

I wonder if it was drug or

I wonder if it was drug or alcohol abuse that put our kids in danger at the Shallotte christmas parade this year? There was some erratic driving and yelling at parents and kids,if I recall correctly it was a supply fire truck responding to a dog house fire.