Plea deals accepted

Published 12:05 pm Wednesday, January 16, 2019

GATESVILLE – Two of the three Gates County Sheriff deputies arrested on felony charges one year ago finally had their day in court here last week.

During a scheduled Superior Court session, Lavar Newsome and Tobe Ruffin each entered an Alford Plea and accepted a lesser charge – misdemeanor failure to discharge duties. Both former deputies were given a Prayer for Judgment by Superior Court Judge Lamont Wiggins.

Arrested by the North Carolina SBI on Jan. 22, 2018, Newsome was originally charged with one felony count of obtaining property by false pretense. Ruffin was arrested the same day on four counts of the identical charge where the deputies were accused of 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).

Ruffin had three of his original charges dismissed during last week’s court session.

In entering the Alford Plea, both men proclaimed they are innocent of the crime, but admitted that the prosecution has enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Meanwhile, former Gates County Sheriff’s Captain Glynda Parker, also arrested on Jan. 22 of last year and charged with one felony count of obtaining property by false pretense, was scheduled to have her case heard last week. However, it was continued until the Feb. 26 session of Superior Court.

The arrests of the former law enforcement officers last year came at the same time that now former Gates County Sheriff Randy Hathaway was also charged and arrested by the SBI.

Hathaway was originally charged with one felony count each of obtaining property by false pretense; willful failure to discharge duties (of his office); and obstruction of justice.

On Sept. 10 during a session of Gates County Superior Court, Hathaway entered an Alford Plea for the charge of failure to discharge duties. The other charges lodged against him were dismissed.

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.”

Hathaway, who was removed from office on the day of his arrest, resigned as Sheriff on July 9. He was technically still an employee of Gates County local government (without pay or benefits) up until his formal resignation.


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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