The sheriff of a North Carolina county allegedly tried to arrange the killing of a deputy who planned to release a recording of him using "racially offensive language," according to court records.
Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was charged Monday with felony obstruction of justice for the alleged 2014 plot.
After learning one of his deputies, Joshua Freeman, possessed the offensive tape, Wilkins reportedly told an unnamed individual on a phone call "the only way you gonna stop him is kill him."
It is not known what Wilkins said in the alleged recording, which has not been released.
Wilkins, according to the indictment, told an unidentified man how to commit the killing "in a manner as to avoid identification," going as far as to discuss the time and place that would be best to kill him.
The sheriff allegedly gave the man guidance on how to shoot Joshua Freeman without getting caught, saying "You ain't got the weapon, you ain't got nothing to go on" and "The only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can't tell nobody nothin', not a thing."
Wilkins supposedly encouraged the man to "take care of it," reassuring him he wouldn't reveal the plot to any law enforcement officials.
The plot was never carried out. Freeman no longer works in the sheriff's office, though it is not clear when he left.
The sheriff was charged for not arresting the would-be killer and failing to make efforts to prevent Freeman from being harmed, according to the indictment.
"The defendant failed to properly execute his duties because of his personal animosity towards Joshua Freeman, who defendant was told had expressed an intention to publicly disclose to authorities a purported audio recording of the defendant using racially offensive language," the indictment states.
Wilkins was released on $20,000 bond, and, according to the News & Observer, is still serving as sheriff.
“Technically, he can continue to serve if he chooses to until convicted," Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, who is working on the case, said.
Wilkins did not immediately respond to a request for comment.