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Sheriff candidate says Hewett's death from lack of experience, procedure in jail

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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."

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