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.