New sheriff named after predecessor accused of plot to kill

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OXFORD, N.C. (AP) — A new sheriff has been appointed in a North Carolina county where its suspended sheriff is accused of trying to urge someone to kill a deputy.

Charles R. Noblin Jr. will take the oath of office Wednesday in Granville County, news outlets reported. Sheriff Brindell Wilkins has been suspended with pay since September.

Wilkins was indicted on felony justice obstruction charges over allegations that he discussed killing a former deputy. Prosecutors said that in 2014, deputy Joshua Freeman planned to publicly release a recording of Wilkins making “racially offensive” comments.

The appointment of Noblin as sheriff was announced in a joint statement from the Granville County Board of Commissioners and the Granville County Sheriff's Office, news outlets reported. Officials say it should not be read as a statement of Wilkins' guilt or innocence.

"We wish to remind the public that Brindell B. Wilkins, Jr. remains innocent until proven guilty," a statement said according to WRAL-TV. “The actions taken are to insure the continued, effective operation of the Granville County Sheriff’s Office until the ongoing investigations are finished and the legal proceedings against him are concluded.”

Noblin is an 18-year veteran of the sheriff's office and is currently over its Civil Division, officials said. Chief Deputy Sherwood Boyd filled in after Wilkins suspension. He's expected to be sworn in as Noblin's chief deputy.

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