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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A day after New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon talked about the death of Ron Hewett in his jail Saturday, McMahon’s political challenger is speaking out.

Republican Jason Vaughn says Hewett did not receive correct treatment according to standard protocol, and that circumstances like those surrounding his death are caused by the inexperience of the deputies assigned to the jail.

“This is a tragedy,” Vaughn said. “It’s not something that needs to be politicized by any means. I would like to offer any expertise I can to assist, but certainly my heart goes out to his family and his friends based on this tragic end of his life.”

Vaughn says deaths in jail like Hewett’s can also result in public mistrust, lawsuits and large settlements. Those are problems he says can be solved by having an attorney on staff.

“A good man has lost his life and family members are hurting,” McMahon said in an e-mailed statement responding to Vaughn’s claims. “Tragedy should never be used as an opportunity for political gain, and I will not be a part of that. May God wrap his arms around the family and friends of Sheriff Hewitt and give them comfort during this time.”

Comment on this Story

  • Citizen Jason

    Jason Vaughn has fizzled into quite an irreverent joke. I saw him campaigning, at the poll, with his all his supporters. Yes, just himself. All by himself.

    Sheriff McMahon was out there also. He never had a crowd of less the a dozen, crowding around him. I was glad to shake the Sheriff’s hand. After voting.

  • SR

    I am a Republican. I am voting outside of my party for Sheriff Ed McMahon in New Hanover County. I went to watch the extended version of the video released here that shows no such truth that the people here are rookies or followed improper protocol in the jail. This video shows everything; an agitated former sheriff that is swinging constantly to assault and fight deputies, chasing after, assaulting and throwing punches for an extended period of time at a whole group of deputies. You can see all of the heads start to appear in the windows of all of the other cells to watch him chasing and punching the deputies for an extended period after he was tased just once. Why would Jason Vaughn want or try to mislead people about the jail when the people can easily see what the cameras show is not rookies or inexperienced deputies? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ds56hkTegGQ

  • Jools

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. It truly is sad what some people will resort to.

  • Wendy

    I doubt it is announced. It will be private.

  • Wendy


  • guest111

    Does anyone know the date of Ron’s funeral?

  • NCtheplacetobe

    I cannot believe the lack of class that Jason Vaughn has. Mr. Vaughn has showed his true colors as being nothing more than opportunistic. A man has died and a family is in pain, but Vaughn finds time to jump in front of a camera to “not politicize” Ron Hewitt’s death? Vaughn needs to learn how to be dignified. Thank you for helping me to make a “political” decision to not vote for a man who can’t respect a family in their time of grief. Ron Hewitt may have had troubled years, but he will always be somebody’s son, father, friend, and family member, NOT YOUR POLITICAL GAIN. Sheriff McMahon has proven what a sheriff needs to do when an investigation is going on and that’s to wait for facts. Plus, Sheriff McMahon is a good Christian man who is respecting the memory of Ron Hewitt and his family during their time of grief.

  • 4253

    Looks like Jason Vaughn really screwed up this time by opening his big mouth. This one’s going to come back and bite him right in the center of his political butt.

  • for real

    Disgraceful that Mr. Vaughn was given the opportunity to speak on this at all and that it was broadcast! How does he have so much information? Definitely a political move against E. McMahon. Very low. I wouldn’t vote for him now if he was running against Bugs Bunny.

  • Todd

    Very sad that a families loss is used for political gain. Vaughn needs to be ashamed of his actions and comments. An apology to the family would be the right thing to do.

  • Jason Vaughn even if I had planned on voting for you, it is a lost vote now. To step up and try and gain publicity now while Mr. Hewlett’s family is grieving is beyond belief. Shows you are an ultimate politician and will use anything to try and get a vote. This most likely is going to backfire big time. Shame of you!

  • Wilmingon Truth Teller

    This mudslinging lawyer, politician, wants to fill the shoes of good Christian Law Enforcement Southeastern NC Sheriffs. Like Ron Hewitt, John Ingram, Sonny Lanier, and Ed McMahon. Maybe this paper waving lawyer, needs to go back to California.

  • CitizenJason

    Sheriff McMahon immediately notified the SBI. And a fair, through, investigation, is being conducted. The FACTS have yet to even come out. How does Lawyer Vaughn know any details, to make such a ridiculous, premature, statement ?

    Lawyer Vaughn can’t wait to make political hay from this tragic situation. He needs to stick to what he’s good at. Fighting for drunk drivers, and suing people.

    This is a disgrace. Vaughn should be ashamed of himself. Given his ‘Lawyer Moral Compass’, I doubt he is.

  • guest23

    oops…guess he was tased a little too much, oh well mistakes happen….maybe with better police training this can be fixed??? Really!!! Vaughn’s solution bring in a full time attorney to help better protect the police, so we can prevent law suits against New Hanover County. We need New Hanover County cleaned up, many of us are tired of the deaths and inhumane treatment going on. It is clear to see who side Vaughn is on, thanks for turning this into a political campaign, at least we all know who not to vote for now. The last thing we need is an attorney helping to defend the police. The corruption appears to be going all the way to the feds, the feds placed Hewett in jail to start with, I think New Hanover County is in over their heads. We all saw what happened to Hewett, it is a dangerous time when you see an icon like this go down right in front of our eyes like this, I think the local media is even fearful. The police cannot stay out of the news yet the media is not really covering this as an on going problem, stories come and then just disappear. Hewett was placed in jail for having a gun that was not made in NC, and no bail, and now he is dead, tased at the hands of the police. No one cares what Hewett may have done, or what some say he was going to do, if he was unhealthy and had a bad heart, Mr. Hewett should have never died in jail at the hands of the police. No one should die this way!!!!

  • Gramps1945

    Only a slick, clever, snake, lawyer, like Vaughn, would try to make political hay, out of such a tragedy.

    I’m very proud of our Sheriff McMahon. And the high road, he has, once again, taken.

    Before making premature, and completely baseless statements. Smearing the very agency, you hope to lead. You might want to wait for the SBI to present the facts.

    Lawyer Vaughn owes an apology to Sheriff McMahon, our deputies, and most importantly, the Hewitt Family. How dare you use this as an opportunity to ‘Stir the Pot’.

  • guest111

    Vaughn. What were you doing at the jail during all this? how did you get to the area where all this happened? No one ever mentioned you were there (campaigning???) with the inmates. There has been no official presser about any of the happenings at the jail during Ron’s death so where are you getting your info? Are you bribing a deputy to be your confidant? Doesn’t look good on your part . . off to a bad start. By the way, Ron’s family and friend’s have a lot of grieving to do. Why not pick out some other “item” to use as a political sword and leave this alone? Pretty sorry and petty on your part.

  • WannabeX

    I agree timing is wrong to go political at this time , but he did work there and probably knows what could have went wrong..and what could have been done different…just saying…so Vaughn please save the comments for election time.. Give the family the respect they deserve during this sad time to grieve.

  • For Sherriff McMahon

    I love Sheriff McMahon! He’s so right, now is not the time to try to get political gain. Shame on you Vaughn for using this as an opportunity to win over voters. This is a time for mourning the loss of a good man. RIP Sheriff Hewett, may God wrap his arms around Ron’s loved ones and comfort them in this time of need. Always do the right thing! Remember that God sees everything ALL the time! Remember that Vaughn.

  • WannabeX

    This entire situation sounds weird,, was he going to a visit to see his Mother, girlfriend then acted up, got tased? Why would he pick this time to mess up the chance to see them ? Was he seen by a medical person after being tased ? Was he put back in his cell, or kept in medical facility? If so did he try to commit suicide as the uninformed officer said who called 911 when it was time for his visit ? How could he have all this happen in such a close time frame? Ron Hewett should have been in protective custody just because of who he was, and should have been watched very closely considering the situation, as standard suicide watch. There were surely other ways to retrain him besides tasing him.. So I hope the tapes can clear this up since there are so many questions about this unfortunate incident. No matter what laws he broke he didn’t deserve to die like this, and hope that the FBI, IA will seriously do what’s right and give his family, friends ,and people of both counties the truth. The family will be kept in prayer.

  • Deputy66

    I am going to make a prediction. This episode will take McMahon a fellow democrat out of office.
    The only difference will be the voters will remove Ed.

    And another thing if what the Vaughn guy said made you angry. It should make you more angry that this is even an issue. Seems like NHSO are always making headlines. For the wrong reasons. But the truth is the lack of good leadership has a trickle down effect. I’ve been watching the decisions made down at NHSO for over 20yrs. The truth is 80% are politically motivated. But in an election year. It’s closer to 100%.
    This death could’ve been avoided but too many political hires have taken place. And most of those hires are friends and family. Most have no business in law enforcement. It’s starting to show now more than ever

  • guest111

    Sid, give it a rest. You were beaten soundly in the election. Now go away.

  • Guestomfg

    Republican’t Jason Vaughn knows nothing more than we do. He needs to shutup.

  • Support for Ronald

    Vaughn is an Attorney from New Hanover Co. He worked 16 yrs with the New Hanover Sheriff dept and Dept of corrections..He may not of been there but I bet he knows a lot of the guys on the force he worked with and he now works with as an Attorney..I believe the timimg is wrong BUT somebody needs to push some buttons to get some answers..I know a lot from a Police Chief who explained most everything in detail to me from him becoming combative to them tasing him in which they made a HUGE mistake leaving and not staying with him as the law states > if you tase someone you have to stay with them…They thru him in the cell directly after tasing him and then left him and came back 30 mins later and he was dead…

  • WannabeX

    Bad timing for tv interview,but he worked there,,, you never know what he knows..???

  • PublicAvenger

    By his own premature statement. It appears Vaughn is wagging his tail, hoping for a lawsuit against the tax payers of New Hanover County. Who he pretends to want to serve. The problem is, we don’t even know the facts yet.

    It will take the SBI several more days to conclude their investigation. Please let the facts come out, before chopping away at our OUTSTANDING Sheriff and his OUTSTANDING deputies.

    RIP Ron Hewitt. Jason Vaughn, you are a total disgrace. Trying to capitalize off this tragic death of a great man, who was a leader in Law Enforcement, for several years.

  • martin

    A really tacky move on Vaughn’s part. Guess politicians will take advantage of any situation, especially a Republican.

  • Bird Dog

    To cause a disruption to Judge Lewis Supreme Court campaign. Not at all. Jon David calls the Feds at the drop of a hat, spinning Danger drama talk, anything for a headline or to disrupt the community then try to act like a Hero cleaning out corruption. He is Allen Cobb’s clone, add another set-up to Allen Cobb’s long list of dead people. One of those two made that call to stir up an ATF raid. Guaranteed.

  • Me

    Um…it sort of sounds to me like he’s politicizing it….

  • Guest2020

    “It’s not something that needs to be politicized by any means”

    Then why are you politicizing it?

  • Trash

    If he was out of order, why was a tazer used? What ever happened to pepper spray? Just as effective and he more than likely would be alive right now. I think there will be lots of explaining to do in the days to come.

  • guest111

    What police chief informed you of what had happened? I find it hard to believe a chief would deliberately give out information on such a high profile case. For one, that chief needs to go. If he can’t keep his mouth shut he has no business being privy to very fragile information. As for you. You are certainly not to be trusted. You are one of those who can’t keep their mouth shut. “You know a lot from a police chief who explained most everything in detail to you ….” Again a very untrustworthy chief and as for you you can’t wait to run up and down the street and brag about what you know before anyone else. You even went so far as to mention it here on the comments. Shut your mouth, let the powers that be make their formal announcement on this and then people can judge how they think this all happened. Glad you aren’t my friend I may have confided in you in the past. I would be sweating bullets on what you would tell.

  • Terry Hewett

    I agree with pretty much all these comments.Ronald Hewett was a very good friend of mine and we go way back through the school years.Ronald is a good man and ill always remember him as that person.He done a lot of great things for his county and he will be missed.Thank you Ronald and Rest in Peace Brother..


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