Granville County DA speaks with CBS 17 about sheriff’s indictment, its impact on cases

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OXFORD, N.C. (WNCN) – For the first time since the arrest of Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins earlier this week, the county’s district attorney is answering questions from CBS 17 about the case as well as the impact the investigation is having on other pending criminal cases.

Wilkins was indicted earlier this week on felony obstruction of justice charges.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, who is overseeing the prosecution, said there’s a recording of Wilkins telling someone how to kill a former deputy and get away with it.

That former deputy claimed to have a separate recording of the sheriff making “racially offensive comments.”

Granville County’s District Attorney Mike Waters got involved in the case in 2014.

At the time, he was working in private practice and representing the former deputy.

He says in August 2014, he took the recording of the sheriff to the FBI.

It’s still not clear what investigators did with it. An FBI spokesperson declined to comment on the case.

In early 2017, he took it to the State Bureau of Investigation.

It wasn’t until the end of 2018 that investigators listened to it and contacted Wake County’s district attorney about it.

After an investigation that lasted nearly a year, she took the case to a grand jury, which returned the indictments against Sheriff Wilkins.

CBS 17 asked Waters about the five-year wait.

Waters said, “There’s different leadership that’s involved in these organizations. And, right now, what you have is a U.S. Attorney’s Office that is doing what they can do. And, you have new leadership at the SBI. And, these kinds of changes. But, you know, things happen when they happen.”

Both the SBI and FBI are involved in the current investigation, which is also delving into the accounting and operations of the sheriff’s office’s drug unit.

“Our duty is not just to convict. Our duty is to do justice. And, one of the things that we do have to keep in mind is that we want to make sure that the justice system is credible,” he said. “Officers that we think that are under suspicion, we’re really having to wait on their cases. And, we will not be going forward in the interim.”

He declined to say precisely how many cases are impacted.

“There are lots of people that woke up that are deputies with the Granville County Sheriff’s Office, that are other law enforcement officers, and they were probably shocked and surprised as to what happened. They had lots of different feelings. And, they need the community’s support,” Waters said. 

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