make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Former Brunswick Co. Sheriff Ron Hewett dies in jail


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- US Marshals confirm that former Brunswick County Sheriff Ronald Hewett has died in jail at the New Hanover County Jail.

It happened around 2 p.m.

Sheriff Ed McMahon in partnership with the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office has requested the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct the investigation in accordance to their standard operating procedures.

Hewett made his initial court appearance in federal court in Wilmington Thursday to face a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon. ATF agents arrested him Wednesday after executing a search warrant at Hewett's Supply home and reportedly finding several firearms. Hewett is a felon after pleading guilty in 2008 to a federal obstruction of justice charge and state embezzlement charges earning him a 16-month sentence in federal prison.

Hewett arrived in court shackled at the hands and feet wearing a yellow golf shirt and camouflage shorts after spending the night in the Brunswick County Jail, which he oversaw during his 17 years as sheriff.

During the hearing Hewett repeatedly turned around to look at the reporters gathered in the courtroom, where no cameras are allowed. As he left court, Hewett looked toward his family and told them, "I love you."

Hewett was due back in court this Friday for a probable cause and detention hearing, as federal prosecutors said they wanted to keep him in custody.

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.



That is one heck of a reckoning.

This is for you Sheriff

This is for you Sheriff Hewett, We all have sinned and fallen short. NO one sin is greater or lesser than another. Hopefully you will have found peace in our Lord Jesus Christ, and the gates of heaven opened and the words of Christ himself fall upon you. "Welcome home my good and faithful servant" For us...we can only imagine.


It is a sad day, and it is thought provoking that one can lead a brilliant life and then let a few bad judgement calls write an ending to what would have been a very positive history. I am sure there is no conspiracy, and once the investigation is done it will be a natural causes death ruling. There are conspiracies afoot every time someone dies in custody, but most of the time there is nothing to them, and the findings back that up. I hope and pray his family finds peace now that his fight is over. Don't let a mistake or two ruin your own story people, learn from this. Tell the truth, and if you stray from the straight and narrow do not try to cover it up. This man's battle is over, we all know God can forgive a mistake quicker than people will.

A more reasoned perspective

Ron Hewett was family - a cousin actually. I suppose that many of the writers of comments here will assume an absolute bias on my part, but in our family, we tend to be much harder on each other when one of us strays from the path, than we might be for anyone else. Having read the comments here, I find it amazing how Ron's past crimes have now grown - far beyond anything a court or jury of his peers have judged. So, I suppose that after a few decades in law enforcement, Ron has a few enemies that are perhaps a bit more biased than his family members seem to be. The initial criminal charges against Ron were not so terribly serious, in that the cited behavior was an every day fact of life for many politicians. Sadly, Ron's reaction to the situation were clear cases of bad judgement, and most assuredly crimes in and of themselves. So, he made matters worse for himself and everyone around him - and he paid a very dear price. He ruined his life and seriously impacted those he held dear. Clearly, another crime was committed when he violated the laws barring felons from possessing firearms. Had the sad events of last week not intervened, Ron would surely have once again paid a serious price for his decisions. Based on local case histories for similar crimes committed by violent offenders and drug dealers, it seems unlikely that he would have been seriously sanctioned by the courts, though we will certainly never know for sure. Ron died while in the custody of trusted law enforcement officials. That is a truly sad fact of life now, but it is a bit early to be suggesting that his death in custody is proof positive of a criminal act by his jailers. The matter will be investigated by a somewhat disinterested law enforcement authority, and if foul play is involved, I am confident that the truth will in fact see the light day, and be dealt with the very unique harshness that our society usually saves for those public officials that violate their sacred trusts. Remember, that is pretty much how it went for Ron. Ron's death is incredibly sad, but had a similar situation on his watch occurred in past years, Ron would tell us to let due process run its course. For those who have offered prayers and condolences to Ron's family, I am certain that your kind thoughts are appreciated. As for Ron's memory, I would hope for much better than what I am seeing written here. Ron's lapses were a sad end to a brilliant life of public service. On balance, when considering Ron's life in its entirety, it seems hard to imagine anyone concluding anything other than than the simple fact that Ron brought more good to this world and his community than bad. I would urge everyone to consider the whole of this very complex man who eventually fell victim to the sort of human frailties that plague us all at times. But hey, if it truly makes you feel better to bash a fundamentally good man, then I can assure you that Ron would OK with that. May Ron finally rest in peace, and may God watch over his loved ones. I for one have forgiven Ron his transgressions, though I doubt he ever found a way to forgive himself.

Re: A more reasoned perspective

Steve C. - A very WELL STATED, ELOQUENT and ARTICULATE comment. Clearly, are an educated and well-groomed individual. Those who read my reply to you, who perhaps are not "on par" with where I'm coming from,....just won't "get it", so there's no sense/point in me trying to defend my presumptuousness. I'm from Jersey, so with the exception of the most recent incident(s) surrounding your cousin, Sheriff Hewett, admittedly, I don't know much about the back-story. With that being said, I think that virtually EVERYTHING which you touched on in your comment(s) is truth/fact/inarguable. Sadly, in this day & age, society is SUPER QUICK to condemn, convict, and (figuratively) EXECUTE when one is found guilty. At the end of the day, I FULLY and COMPLETELY realize that once ones trust has been betrayed, it's hard to gain back, if ever again at all. However, it sounds like Ron's GOOD which he provided to his community over nearly 17 years, FAR OUTWEIGHED the bad which he did. Nevertheless, I hope your family is able to find eventual peace, and thoughts/prayers be with you.

What's wrong with you people

What's wrong with you people the man is dead, let him rest in piece. Would you want to read this stuff if this were your dad, or your son. Have some compassion on his family.

Justice for Ronald Hewett

Somebody in Brunswick County set up a page seeking Justice for Ronald Hewett.

Hewetts death

I uderstand from news reports Monday morning that Ron Hewitts death accured sometime after a Taser was used on him. What action precipitated the need to use a Taser on Mr Hewitt ? Is there a video recording of this incident ? If so, it better not be erased. What is NHCTY's jail protocol for checking on prisoners who have been Tased.

When my niece was murdered in Brunswick County 10-12 years ago, Ron Hewitt, Sheriff at tha time called me every day with updates on the apprehension and subsequent conviction of the murderer.

Ron's fall from grace is regrettable. The dishonor he brought to the profession is regrettable. The members of the community who disliked Ron for his actions don't need to heap hot coals on his head. Let him be and let his family that remains, heal.

MY bottom line is lets find why why he tased, how and why he died and could it have been preventable.

I have no desire to pass words with others.

Buck O'Shields

Ron Hewett

I tried to get in touch with Ron Hewett on June 26. Left him a message with my name and phone number. He never returned my call, but the morning he was arrested, July 10 someone from Supply, NC visited my blog. The blog tells the whole story about my son's disappearance and I believe my son's disappearance is connected with the same people involved in the Amy Frink disappearance/abduction and death. When I read that Mr. Hewett had died, I was shocked and of course wondered who had visited my blog the morning he'd been arrested. I had wanted to ask him questions about the Amy Frink murder, because my son disappeared much the same way as Amy, with many of the same circumstances soon after I had given the Brunswick County authorities information that might help solve her murder in 1998. I know that John Carr Davis may know more than Ron Hewett, and Mike Easley and Rex Gore may know even more than that. The investigation of my son's "suicide" in Baldwin County, Alabama and Cobb County, Georgia is a travesty. His body did not match the autopsy report and police reports. Files disappeared from computers. Some reports were never entered into computers. All manner of intimidation has been used against me to make me stop trying to uncover what they've done. I have also followed the murder of Officer Davina Buff Jones and was astounded that the local authorities in Brunswick County would hose down the evidence, blood, prints from the scene of that murder before the entire area was properly processed. And that the state of North Carolina does not have the integrity or honor to recognize her death as a murder is absolutely incredible. I saw the autopsy pictures and anybody could see by the wound that she was incapable of inflicting it to herself. I am a formerly contributing editorial cartoonist in N.C., in Monroe, NC 1988-1992 contributing to the Enquirer Journal Newspaper and some others. My sympathies are to Mr. Hewett's family. I did not know him personally but feel he was young when he walked into the position as sheriff, and possibly was forced to carry burdens and inside knowledge of that job which was not of his own making. I also read the letter from the "friend," Jonathan Crane and hope I never have a friend like that. If anyone ever referred to my life as "hero to zero" and called me friend, I would personally come back and haunt them from my grave. I do HOPE that an HONEST investigation will be done for Ron Hewett. EVERYONE deserves to have an honest death investigation. Feel free to visit my blog with many sections: I may be contacted there through the comments section.

so wrong

i have known ronald hewett since he started the dare program in the schools. he was always nice to me and my family.always joking and giving hugs smiling thumbs up.he has 14 years as a vet of sheriff for brunswick county. they need to get to the bottom of what really happened and dont lie about it.all the inforecments need to stop and think if yall wouldnt in the group it could be yall right now in the same situation.the governor needs to get behind it and help support this to get answers on it.and as far as cleaning his yard he was only letting the inmates do free community services. ronald would have your back and return calls back like he would say he would do.sheriff ingram needs to speak out and help to get answers on what happened to.ronalds done a lot of good for brunswick county like getting the drugs off of the streets.

alcohol and drug addiction. .

I just read the letter from Ron's long time friend explaining Ron's downfall with alcohol and drugs. This friend didn't put the blame on anyone but alcohol and drugs. What he said made sense. Alcohol has destroyed many and many a person and family. It has always made me furious that the laws went after a smoker yet does nothing to the people who hit the bars at noon, drink all afternoon then get out in rush hour traffic when people are going home from work. Alcohol is a demon to any and all who abuse it, as Ron did. Why doesn't someone sue alcohol makers and distributors like they did cigarettes? It's a shame the he was one of the millions who get addicted to the drink and destroyed his life.

If that's so true, and this person is really Hewett's "friend"

then why was he tazed to death instead of court ordered to go to a recovery facility, if his "friend" was right and truly a friend?

Ronald Hewett

It would be great if we could ever know why he had to be tased to death when any other inmate would have been court ordered to go to a recovery facility. He was murdered by people in the jail, sorry, but there is no other word for it. He was a good man, and I can guarantee you that the public will never know the whole truth. Ron was a friend for many years to me and others, and everyone deserves to know why he was taken from us.

Why are you passing judgment

Why are you passing judgment when all the facts aren't in?

so wrong

i think the governor of north carolina need to get behind ronald hewett death. and find out what killed him. this is not the first death in new hanover county something tells the governor things are not adding up who are they trying to hush up. by the law in north carolina. ronald shouldnt been put in population he is a 14 year sheriff largest in north carolina. you dont think he didnt have any enemys im sure he did out there. who every is responsible for this state federal or local govt need to own up.any one of yall law enforcement that is not apart of there group it could be some of yall right now .all though ronald hewett was convicted of wrong he did not need to be in the county jail that he was from.sounds like to me that they wanted him dead and it was a inside the people need to rally together in brunswick county to get answer on what happened even the governer needs to get involved in it.why would they want to do away with ronald they just didnt want him to talk.he has not done nothing to me i knew him for a long time back from school he was always giving hugs smiles thumbs up. he was one of the ones that started the dare program in brunswick county need to give credit to him.where credit is due.although he took the inmates to his house to work he was saving the state money.although i dont think he done nothing wrong because the state says community services well that was what he was doing for the community and the county.even though that sheriff ingram is in brunswick county he needs to get with the governor and go after new hanover county for the ones responsible for his death.

you would have to know

you would have to know ronald hewett he was a good man.And was good sheriff that brunswick county every had.his family is good people all so. he was the only sheriff during a hurricane that would get out with a chainsaw and cut down trees.he will be truly missed and loved as always. we have not had no law in order since ronald has been out of office like it should be with the drugs and all.thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

I hope whoever the SBI sends

I hope whoever the SBI sends to investigate Hewett's death is honest and does a better job than those lying/incompetent (or both) agents who, like Hewett, assisted in covering up the murder of Bald Head Island Police Officer Dee Jones.

The problem is that there

The problem is that there has been corruption in law enforcement in southeastern North Carolina since the '70's; and sadly nothing has changed. Much of it is drug-related (payoffs and bribes); such as when former Brunswick County sheriff Herman Strong resigned after being found guilty of five counts of conspiring to smuggle drugs back in 1983. Nice legacy we have here, folks. The question is, when are we, the voters and taxpayers going to get fed up enough to stop making excuses for dirty law enforcement and do something about it?

Most likely Officer Jones' death was the result of a drug deal gone bad, where she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (or perhaps it was actually the right place at the right time, in order to bring criminals to long-overdue justice). The mere fact that Jones' family and their advocates were told by those in high positions of power and authority to "leave it alone" and "drop it" should've served as prima facie evidence enough to have had Rex Gore, Sheriff Hewett and all their cronies involved in such an obvious, shameless cover-up (figuratively) ridden out of town on a rail. Perhaps at the very least if Sheriff Hewett had been given a dose of humility and lost his bids for re-election, as definitely should've happened in response to this fiasco, the ongoing investigation of Jones' murder wouldn't have been obstructed; and the subsequent downward trajectory of Ronald's professional and personal life could've been altered in a positive direction to where he'd still be alive today.

Has there been foul play in Hewett's jailhouse demise? I'm certainly not ruling out the possibility. Either way, our ex-sheriff deserves a proper, in-depth, unbiased investigation just like anyone else. But Hewett's family are not the only ones grieving. As long as murderers have not been brought to justice, we cannot argue to keep sweeping vital information under the rug under the guise of "letting the dead rest in peace." If Hewett or his family were actually being threatened, then that is all the more reason the investigations must continue, whatever additional negative implications (if any) there might be for his posthumous legacy and reputation.

Their are many still alive that was involved

Rex Gore, Ingram, Miller were all involved with the cover up death of Ms Jones....They know all the answers and what happened...

Bill stanly: the fact that

Bill stanly: the fact that Hewitt was a felon means he can't possess a gun. The fact that he's a felon and possessed a gun not made in nc makes it a federal crime above NCs state charge. Don't comment on things you know nothing about. It makes you look like a moron.

Just another.....

Ronald Hewett was just another crooked cop who got caught. He was a disgrace to the uniform and the profession, and karma busted his behind. This man was not a good person. He abused his power, and took advantage of his badge, and his office. I quite frankly do not understand those of you who defend someone like him, but you see it all the time on this site. People who defend criminals even when everyone knows they are guilty just like Ronald "Hollywood" Hewett.

Ronald Hewitt

Mr. Walters you are so off on you statement. I would surmise that you are the one person on the face of the earth that has never made a mistake. Ronald was a young man who took over a department that was rift with corruption. When he was elected,law enforcement in this county had just seen several of the departments, in the mist of an organized drug operation. Your choice to begin casting stones before his family has even had the opportunity to grieve is an indication of your poor upbringing, not to mention your total lack of compassion. Should we assume that you have had a poor relationship with law enforcement in the past? Perhaps you were arrested for poor choices you have made. I really don't know, and I could really care less. Your total lack of any sort of decency, as in attacking a man who has not even had the time to be buried, is in my book a major fault in your character. Your own statement of being unable to understand how someone could defend the man, is understandable for someone lacking moral character. This is not the time to determine character. Two children lost their father, a mother her son, and friends are grieving. Why there are many people supporting him, is simple. Some people have class, while there are those who use the situation to promote their sad opinions. Ronald was a local, someone who many grew up with, played sports with, been friends and class mates with, and those who were just familiar with him. Ronald was well liked, because he was just that type of person. And of course there are those, like yourself, who didn't like him for whatever reason. No one has jumped up and stated that Ronald was a God. No one has jumped up and yelled that they agreed with what Ronald pleaded guilty to. Ronald made some poor choices. That however, Mr. Walters, does not mean that Ronald was a bad man. Yes he made some wrong choices. Perhaps his quick ascension to the head lawman in Brunswick County, allowed him to become big headed, or power grabbing. That however does not diminish the good things he did for this county, and it certainly does not diminish the type of man he was. He took his medicine, and paid his penalty. The man never met a stranger, and the stranger never forgot the meeting. The reason people supported Sheriff Hewitt then, and now, is because even with his faults, despite his poor judgment, he was a man who kept his word, and was a very likable man. He made people feel comfortable just being around him. If you had a problem, he would try and correct it. And Mr. Hewitt was a man, not a God, not a saint, just a really nice man. You Mr. Walters have shown your real character. You are a man who has taken the opportunity to feed on Ronald's mistakes. Even with his mistakes, I would much rather have Ronald as a friend, than you. The reason being he kept his word, admitted his mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and even with his world collapsing around him, admitted his fraility, and was a good family man. Oh yes, he had something lacking today; class. He owned his mistakes. He would never kick a man when he was down. He certainly would at the very least, allowed his family to bury him!

Well said

Thank you, Local Yankee, for redirecting the focus back to friends and loved ones who await answers and take on the painful task of making the necessary final arrangements. Whatever the did or did not do is now history. I agree that his family and friends deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion. I was taught, "If you cannot say something good, say nothing at all."

For ALL have sinned and come

For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. No one is perfect. We have to forgive the person or when we come to God to ask forgiveness it will not be given. And love your neighbor as yourself.


He showed up drunk and on drugs to crime scenes. He extorted money from people, and the list goes on. He plead guilty so he was guilty. The recorded rantings of him calling his his deputies under the influence of what ever firing them over the phone. Abusing his badge and the office he was elected to. You say I lack moral character, but Ronald Hewett most certanly lacked any moral character, and any good he did was erased by his criminal actions. You say you would rather have a friend like Ron Hewett than me, and I say GREAT because I don't have friends who are idiots. I am not feeding off his mistakes, because they were much more than mistakes. He abused the trust he swore to uphold, and he put another black mark on the law enforcement profession all over the United States. Just the fact he had firearms in his home showed he lacked any respect for the law. He knew he was not supposed to have them yet he did. He lost that right to have a firearm, he lost his right to vote, he lost the right to be called a good man, and he lost his right to be called Sheriff.

Democratic Party Hewett

Democrat is as Democrat does.

You have no idea how lucky you are to be American

For all of those who slandered Ronald Hewett, go expand your perspective. I lived in a third world country, where the police robbed my house. Nothing will make you appreciate the freedom you have been given by living without the rights you are clearly taking for granted. Stop being ignorant or stop being lazy and go do the job yourself, become sheriff, and show us how its done.

In order for slander to

In order for slander to occur a lie has to be told. Ronald Hewett was a convicted felon. He pleaded guilty. Mr. Walters told no lies.

All cops are crooked. What

All cops are crooked. What are you talking about?

As are most mechanics,

As are most mechanics, electricians, plumbers, lawyers, contractors, or any other profession that has to deal with a public that has NO clue what there job really entails and judges by a few bad apples. Try walking in their shoes before you make any judgements and apply a tar brush to an entire profession. Whatever you do for a living I'm sure there are people that don't like it.. I'm not slandering it; try doing the same?