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FIRST ON 3: Ron Hewett was tased before death in jail


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- WWAY has learned former Brunswick County Sheriff Ronald Hewett was tased before he died yesterday, according to a source close to the situation.

Hewett died shortly after 2 p.m. at the New Hanover County Jail, where he was being held on a federal detainer. What is still unclear is how much time passed between the use of the Taser and when Hewett died.

New Hanover County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer said Sunday the agency could not comment on whether a Taser was used because the incident is under investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation and because Hewett was a federal inmate. Brewer did say the Sheriff's Office is conducting an internal review to see if any policies were violated. He said no one has been suspended or put on administrative duty in connection to anything that happened at the jail regarding Hewett.

The Sheriff's Office has referred all questions to the US Marshal Service. When we asked a spokesman for the Marshal Service about an autopsy, he said there was no new information regarding Hewett's death.

A look back and the life and career of Ron Hewett

Hewett had been in custody since agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrested him Wednesday and charged him with a federal count of possession of a firearm by a felon. The arrest came after agents served a warrant at Hewett's Supply home and say they found several weapons. Under federal law, he could not have a firearm following his 2008 conviction on obstruction of justice.

Hewett was initially held in the Brunswick County Jail, but was transferred to the New Hanover County Jail following his initial appearance in federal court in Wilmington Thursday morning.

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.


Suspicious Tragedy

First, my heart and prayers go out to a mother who has lost her child. Regardless of how this turns out, her life will never be the same. No mother wants to have to bury her child, especially if it could have been prevented. That being said, I think the circumstances surrounding Ron's death are very suspect to say the least. Just the fact that he was being taken out of his cell for a visit with his mother when this supposedly happened makes no sense. No one in jail is going to act out when they are entitled to a visit, especially when it is someone you want to see, like your mother. Not to mention, if proper protocol was followed and he was being removed from his cell, he should have been in handcuffs while being transported to the visitation area. Something is definitely wrong with this scenario. More so, because he was a former sheriff and public figure, additional safety measures should have been in place. There's no doubt corruption is everywhere now a days. However, covering corruption with more corruption is counter productive. Hopefully, a full and honest investigation will get to the bottom of this tragedy. I pray that God will comfort his family during their time of need and will allow the truth to unfold giving his family some understanding of how this happened. Prayers being lifted up for you all and my deepest condolences from one mother to another. Godspeed on your journey, Ron, rest in peace.

Brunswick Co

I work for the nc dot in shallotte for four and a half years in the early 90's. when I was asked about Brunswick County I describe it as the following at the time North Carolina ranked in the bottom five in SAT scores and Brunswick County had the worst scores in North Carolina. Enough said very backward County very backward leadership I was glad to get out of Brunswick County

what are they hidding

ron died around 2:00 but then the call to 911 went out at 2:57 saying that they had a sucidial inmate to 911 and didnt say who they were and thought there age was 40 years old and were still breathing .how does this make sense they knew who he was.somebody had alot to cover in that hour.where was sheriff ed mamchon while this was going on he was suppose to be one of ronalds good friends. ed machman needs to resign for obstructing justice.he cant even run his own jail much less the least ronald could run his jail and his county.

Ronald Hewett

For anyone who don't know please like on FB!!!

That page has no interest in

That page has no interest in justice. It is only interested in yes-men to fuel the flame. The interest of justice can only be served if all sides of an issue are explored, not just the side that you are on and since the page does not allow any "negativity", then one has to assume, you are only interested in a resolution that supports your desired outcome.


Justice? Dang boy the facts aren't even out yet? What justice do you want? All the conspiracy theorists in one place, denying this fool ever did anything wrong? No thanks.


I do not know nor do I have any opinions of Mr. Hewett.... nor will I ever. But I do know one thing, his death is unacceptable and wrong. No one should die in our jails like this. I don't care what this man ever did or what someone thought he might was going to do. If he had bad health or a bad heart, his death is still unacceptable. If anyone accepts his death as normal procedure and no one is at fault, and there is nothing wrong here, then you are part to blame for his death, and by doing so you are giving up our rights and making this country a horrible place to live. When you are part of a system that gives the police this kind of green light, there will be more inhumane treatment and more deaths to come, this is just the beginning. This man did no wrong and dies at the hands of the police, he should not have been in jail to start with and he should have never been mixed with other criminals given his status. For God's sake what is happening in our country, right under our noses, are we no more civilized then this?

What about the "Others"?

You bring this up after the Death of a Local Icon? Dear Whitewash, there Have been SEVERAL Deaths at the Hands of Police in New Hanover & Brunswick Couties, Over the years,( I'm forgetting Columbis also).. While Folks were being Held, waiting for Trial,Or serving Short sentances,Since, I've grown up here.. MOST deaths caused under DUBIOUS circumstances or Causes...
So your just now waking up to this fact?

To the other poster wanting to make that "Documentary" While Doing so, don't forget people that May of known for Ronald Hewett His Alledged Drug running Operation(s). There are people out there that can attest to "facts", Or have seen & heard of quite a bit of His operation(s).. That go back BEFORE RH got Elected, going back into the Early late 70's & 80's...(BC Sheriff Strong & ColCor, Operation GATEWAY, et al), that netted several Politicians AND LEO.(Hoyal "Red" Varnum,Steve Varnum, (Brunswick C. Commissioner)Lake Waccamaw LEO, Harold Lowery, Judge J. Wilton Hunt,State Rep. G. Ronald Taylor, Senator RC Soles, Lt. Governor Jimmy Green, AND a assorted cast of characters right out of some southern horror flick. )... Many of these were from the Long time Various Family names from the area(s) in & around SENC, THEY, (a few NOT all), were Major Drug runners back in the day, and Still contuniue to this DAY.. Everything from BRIBES, Kick-backs, to the person found Murdered in a full sized van With several pounds of Marijuana on/off 133,Ortan Plantion,(still un-solved),Thomas Summer(son-in Law to then Sheriff John Carr Davis), to Several full sized u-haul trucks loaded with tons of Marijuana,(Busted because of a Flat Tire), to Kilos of Cocaine.To rumors of Mysterious un-lit Planes flying Low, up though (at tree-top level)Lockwood folly inlet once a month.. To another "Rumor" RH's "people" busted some heads on a SouthPort Dock, on a commerical Fishing boat, stealing the Coke, that was smuggled to the Dock there, from off-shore.. Including the Still unsolved Murder of Davina Buff Jones, From a Drug Smuggling Plan or efforts gone wrong or astray, As She was un-intentional Collateral damage, When she showed up on the Scene of a un-folding Drug Operation. Not countin of course His, (RH) Alledged Prescription Drug abuse... Though I Digress..
Folks, Yes Ronald "Hollywood" Hewett May of been a "Good Man" to Most of the Folks in Brunswick County, though the Criminal Element got to Him, as Power & Money Corrupts.. There still ARE, Many skeletons buried in & around Brunswick County, Columbis County, AND of course New Hanover, That PLENTY of Folks don't want to be found. I have NO DOUBT that Ronald was making noise,(knowing where Most or ALL those Skeletons are Buried) & trying to extort someone(s) for cash, leading to His Warrent and subsequent arrest and Death. Most of you saw the RH as a Strong charismatic leader. No doubt, He was that.. Yes He "Batteled crime". Though He also was Part of it... Though, to His Family & Dear Friends, I Do offer My Condolances.He will or is facing The Ulimate Court, Before Our Lord, *GOD*.

To his Enemies, Dead Men Tale No Tales..

actually not that recent

This has been going on for a while, crooked lawyers, judges that are put in power by corruption, police who brutalize and murder. The difference this time is they went after an icon, when they go after an icon this big, it is a wake up call. We need a good list of all the things that are going on around here. The police cannot seem to stay out of the news, really the media is sending out these stories, they need to get a list together, I wonder if people are afraid to speak up, when you see this kind of stuff going on, the whistle blowers may come to harm. Perhaps even the media is fearful, these stories do not seem to stay in the paper for long.


Icon? Ron Hewett was,is,and always be a dirty cop.


When I used the word icon it was with this definition;someone who is very famous and who people think represents a particular idea. Like many, I do not know Mr. Hewett or have any opinions of him. The point I was making is if Mr. Hewett died at the hands of the police, I guess the general public knows where they stand.


Thanks for clearing that up. Point taken.

Investigative Doc Time?

I am a photojournalist who is a native Brunswick County resident my entire life. His mom was a teacher of mine also. Seriously considering researching a investigative documentary on the rise and fall of Ronald Hewett. I am neutral either way but I have to say this is seriously fishy. Maybe a good local documentary could uncover some truths here. Anyone agree???

I would love to see the Feds

I would love to see the Feds come down hard on the next drug dealing, gangster, felon, thug, caught possessing a gun, not made in NC.

Some of these thugs get arrested 3X a year, robbing, and dealing dope, with guns. And the Feds, and the courts, just keep turning a blind eye.

Ronald's life fell apart, six years ago. Those guns probably made him feel a symbol of better times. A sad reminder of the authority, and responsibility he had. He had no intention of hurting anyone else, or using them. He was saving a little pride. (And I'm not saying he was right.)

Instead of ten years in prison. A month in jail, a fine, and probation, would have been far more fitting. And a lot more then the 'Slap On The Wrist', given to the dope dealing thugs.

RIP Ronald Hewitt.

Or he knew he had enemies

Or he knew he had enemies and really needed that 38 in his bedside table.


a man shouldn't loose his 2nd Amendment rights for the charges he was brought up and convicted of. He was neither a danger by owning firearms, nor was he charged of a violent crime.

OBVIOUSLY....he had a reason to have a gun.

Debt Paid?

I don't think so. There is no compensation for the lives he destroyed. Hewett made a career of incarcerating individuals on "suspicion" of mis-deeds. Many of these people spent months in jail, losing their jobs, homes, and family stability, only to have the charges dropped or dismissed against them when their day in court finally came. Those were the lucky ones. Targeted individuals had pertinent evidence withheld, or false evidence manufactured to gain a conviction. He played God with the lives of thousands. His "arrest and conviction record" was more important than the people he swore to protect. That Oath includes everyone, not just those beyond suspicion.

Ronald Hewett, former Brunswick County sheriff, dies

They just couldn't leave him alone. He had paid his debt to society and trying to live out the rest of his days minding his own business. But some vindictive person - possibly family or friends - was being paid to watch him. I hope that whoever was responsible for his arrest reaps what he sowed. I don't believe he just died - the stress of how he was being treated killed him. Along with the politicans (trying to be re-elected) took away his dignity and pride. They stripped him of all the honor he earned during his career as Sheriff. He was not bothering nobody in the privacy of his own home. Ronald Hewett was like family to the residents of Brunswick County. God comfort and protect his bereaved family and bless Ronald Hewett's soul. Sleep on and take your rest, We loved you, but God loved you best. R.I.P. C. Davis Leland, NC

He stripped himself of the

He stripped himself of the honor he earned as sheriff, by the crimes he committed. In spite of that, he didn't deserve to die.

thanks for the laugh

I love the way you have tried to paint Ron as a victim. He is a victim only to himself and the choices he made. He may have paid his debt but not in full. Being a felon comes with restrictions he had to abide by and he chose not to do so. He lost his honor, nobody else did that to him.

Ron Hewett

Mrs. Davis you just don't know the true story, or any of the details.

For ATF to show up it was a very power hungry person or official

Doubt Ron's Brunswick good ole family or friends could ever pull that off. No, this was someone that was a STATE employee in the courts, a Federal employee in the courts or with the SBI Attorney Generals office...guaranteed. Think back who we know in recent history who most frequently has a Federally big idea and gets everyone in power in trouble somehow? Look back in the news, who in Brunswick calls in the Feds and State authorities most often?

Ronald Hewett

Conspiracy or not, GOD decided it was time for him to come home. Ronald is in a better place. He doesn't ever have to answer to anyone else again. Hopefully many lessons can be learned from this tangled web of deception and sadness. Truth is he had a good heart, he just lost his way! Don't ever think that you can't lose your way- because it can happen to the best of families and to the least expectant.


This is one of the most respectful comments that I have read so far.

where is the letter posted

where is the letter posted around 3 pm yesterday from the so called friend Jonathan Crane saying he went from a hero to a zero


As I read this letter from a supposed "friend" and I use that word loosely I couldn't believe a friend would post such... I would hate to read what a enemy would write.... I learned a long time ago not to judge people because you don't know the road it took to get them there...RIP RH


Very few facts, lots of speculation and misinformation. Let's wait to see how this plays out.


He who lives by the taser....

Excessive Force???

From the picture posted, he did not appear to in great physical condition. My question is, was other methods used to refrain him tried? Pepper spray or maybe some less aggressive means. I'm also feel sure cameras are present in jail where incident occurred. Will they be released to the public? If proper protocol was used (not saying it was or wasn't), then there's no reason video should not be released.


I'm fairly sure, as we will find out, those cameras were either inoperable OR malfunctioned...WATCH!