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Hathaway enters Alford Plea

GATESVILLE – Randy Hathaway, the former Sheriff of Gates County, entered an Alford Plea to one charge here Sept. 10 during a session of Criminal Superior Court.

Hathaway, arrested Jan. 22 by the North Carolina SBI, had several other charges dropped as part of the judicial proceedings.

An Alford Plea is where a defendant proclaims they are innocent of the crime, but admits that the prosecution has enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It is entered when an accused, together with their attorney, has made the calculated decision to plead guilty because the evidence against them is so strong that it will likely lead to conviction.

Hathaway

According to court documents, Hathaway – who was ousted from office on the day of his arrest after District 1 Attorney Andrew Womble petitioned a judge to temporarily remove the Sheriff from his position and then later resigned on July 9 – entered a plea for “failure to discharge duties.” The date of that offense was listed as Sept. 30, 2016 as shown on the court documents.

At the time of his arrest, he was charged with one felony count each of obtaining property by false pretense; willful failure to discharge duties (of his office); and obstruction of justice.

Court records show that all of those charges were dropped, and replaced with a Bill of Information that listed a lone charge of failure to discharge duties. In that case, the word “willful” was removed.

After taking plea from Hathaway, Superior Court Judge Marvin K. Blount III sentenced the former Sheriff to 45 days behind bars. Judge Blount suspended that active prison term, replacing it with 12 months of supervised probation along with ordering Hathaway to perform 100 hours of community service.

Hathaway was also ordered to pay a $500 fine, $235 in court costs and a community service fee of $250.

It was further noted in the court records that, “upon satisfactory compliance with all conditions (performing the community service and paying all fines/fees/court costs), the defendant will be transferred to unsupervised probation.”

Meanwhile, three of Hathaway’s former deputies, also arrested on Jan. 22, were scheduled to have their cases heard on Sept. 10. Court records show the cases against Captain Glynda Parker and Deputies Lavar Newsome and Tobe Ruffin are continued until the Jan. 7, 2019 session of Gates County Criminal Superior Court.

Parker and Newsome were each charged with one felony count of obtaining property by false pretense. Ruffin faces four counts of the same charge. Those particular charges, plus one of the original ones filed against Hathaway, stemmed from their signing up for duty as a school security officer on certain dates and did not perform in that capacity; and collecting pay for working as a deputy (from the county) and as a school security officer (paid separately by the Gates County Public School District).

At the time of their arrest, all four law enforcement officers were suspended without pay. Newsome and Ruffin resigned as deputies a short time after their arrest.

A removal hearing, a civil action postponed from an earlier date, was scheduled for Hathaway on July 9, the same day his letter of resignation was received by the Gates County Board of Commissioners. He was technically still an employee of Gates County local government (without pay of benefits) up until his formal resignation.

Hathaway had served as Sheriff since the summer of 2016. He was appointed Interim Sheriff after Ed Webb announced in August of 2016 that he was retiring.

Hathaway joined the Gates County Sheriff’s Office as a rookie deputy on July 12, 1999. He was first promoted to Patrol Sgt. and then was named Chief Deputy under then Sheriff Webb in 2012.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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