Former NC sheriff who died in jail was shot with a stun gun

Ronald Hewett

Ronald Hewett

WILMINGTON, N.C. — A former Brunswick County sheriff who was also a convicted felon died Saturday as he was being held in jail.

WWAY-TV reported that Ronald Hewett was shot with a stun gun before he died Saturday afternoon in the New Hanover County Jail.

An exact cause of death remains uncertain. It is not clear how much time passed between the use of the stun gun and Hewett’s death.

New Hanover County officials have not commented on the circumstances leading to Hewett’s death. The incident remains under investigation.

Hewett was being held under a contract for the U.S. Marshals Service and was pending a court hearing next week on a new firearms charge.

Hewett was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. Federal agents said they found multiple guns at his home in Supply on Wednesday.

The former sheriff faced a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he was convicted.

Hewett’s defense attorney, William Peregoy, said his client, who was in his 50s, had multiple health problems and didn’t need to be in jail.

Hewett was sentenced to 16 months in prison after pleading guilty in 2008 to one count of obstruction of justice.

He also pleaded guilty in state court to three counts of embezzlement and no contest to an obstruction of justice charge.

The death is under investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation. The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office is also conducting an internal review to see if any policies were violated.

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