Thursday, July 18, 2024

Former Brunswick sheriff dies in custody at New Hanover County jail

Ronald Hewett
Ronald Hewett

Former Brunswick County sheriff Ronald Hewett has died.

According to New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer, Hewett–who was being held as a federal inmate on a firearm charge–died at about 2 p.m. Saturday in the New Hanover County Detention Facility.

New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon and District Attorney Ben David have requested the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation investigate Hewett’s death.

Brewer would not confirm Hewett’s cause of death, referring all questions to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Multiple calls to U.S. Marshals haven’t been returned as of Monday morning. Port City Daily has made a public records request for Saturday’s 911 log, which has yet to be furnished.

Hewett, 51, was arrested Wednesday afternoon after agents with the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) searched his home on Holden Beach Road in Supply.

Hewett had been charged with possessing a firearm, which has previously traveled in interstate or foreign commerce after having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, according to court records. According to a probable cause affidavit filed by ATF agent Chad Nesbit, agents seized multiple firearms from Hewett’s home, including a .38-caliber revolver.

Hewett served 14 months of a 16-month sentence in federal prison for obstruction of justice.

He made an initial appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Wilmington where a judge ordered he be remanded to the custody of U.S. Marshals.

Hewett made history as the youngest sheriff in North Carolina when he was elected in 1994. He served as sheriff until April 2008, when he resigned amid federal and state charges into corruption and obstruction of justice.

Check back for more on this developing story. 

Read related stories:

Former Brunswick sheriff arrested on federal firearm charge

Hewett makes initial court appearance; ordered to remain in custody until at least next week

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