Tom Chickos, far left, previous sheriff Bobby Medford, and Ron Honeycutt make their method down the steps of the federal court house after Medford was condemned on all 11 charges associated with prohibited gaming. (Image: Resident Times file image)Former Buncombe County SheriffBobby Lee Medford, who was serving a 15-year sentence in federal jail on corruption and extortion charges, has died from COVID-19. Medford, 74, died Wednesday, June 3, at a hospital beyond the Federal Correctional Organization in Butner, North Carolina, according to a Bureau of Prisons news release. Medford was first examined for hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, on Might 20, by medical personnel at the prison. More: Response Male: Bobby Medford prison release date? Parkway ignores untrimmed? Medford was taken to a regional health center for treatment, where he tested positive for COVID-19, the breathing disease brought on by the unique coronavirus.”On Thursday, May 21, 2020, his condition decreased and he was placed on a ventilator, “the release states.”On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, Mr. Medford, who had long-lasting, pre-existing medical conditions which the Centers for Disease Control notes as danger factors for developing more serious COVID-19 illness, was noticable dead by hospital personnel
.”Medford ended up being the 15th inmate at the Butner complex to die of COVID-19. The low-security center Medford was housed in has had 367 prisoners and 6 staff members test favorable, with six inmates dying. The medium-security Butner facility has had 9 prisoner deaths.
Medford, who had actually begun his career with the Asheville Authorities Department, had a predicted release date of Oct. 11, 2021.
More: ‘Worth every minute’: Outgoing constable Van Duncan reviews 12 years as county’s leading police Medford sentenced to 15 years Medford was sentenced in 2008 to 15 years in jail on corruption and extortion charges for taking allurements from illegal video poker operators in return for
enabling their businesses to operate. Medford was very first elected constable in 1994 and served till he lost to Van Duncan in 2006. Duncan,
who retired in 2018, had his run-ins with Medford, having worked for him, but he said June 3 he had no intent to discuss the negatives worrying his old manager.”As a society, sometimes we tend to remember folks for their most significant faults, “Duncan said. “So, instead of doing that I ‘d much like to say, Constable Medford did a great deal of helpful for a great deal of individuals.””He had a huge heart, he did things for individuals they could not do for themselves often,” Duncan continued.”And not to brush over some of the issues he had, however his family enjoyed him and he did a lot of great for a
League of Women Voters’Online Forum.(Image: Citizen Times file picture )Medford was likewise notoriously loyal to his good friends
, Duncan said, and he’s not one to judge him for his faults.
“Goodness understands, for what did occur, he paid a huge cost, “Duncan stated. Asheville attorney Sean Devereux said Duncan’s period, understood for high ethical standards, stands” in stark contrast “to Medford
‘s.”While I do not constantly agree with Van Duncan’s politics, he played by the guidelines, and it was a breath of fresh when we got a sheriff that did play by the rules,” Devereux said. “There was a lot of cynicism as a consequence of Medford thinking the ends did just the ways which he was above the law.”
Medford was in the thick of numerous well-known murder cases in which he acted unethically, either pushing witnesses for testament or his own investigators to make a case, in some cases on flimsy proof or witness accounts.
The Walter Rodney Bowman slaying in September 2000 resulted in the wrongful jail time of 5 African-American males and ultimately expense Buncombe County millions of dollars in settlements. All told, $8.2 million went to the accuseds once the wrongful convictions were reversed, with just $2.8 million paid for by insurance coverage.
In the criminal proceedings, Devereux represented among the men, Kenneth Kagonyera, who pleaded guilty in December 2001 to attack with a fatal weapon with intent to eliminate. He was exonerated in 2011 by the North Carolina Innocence Query Commission and later got a $515,000 settlement from the county.
Medford, Devereux states, was a police officers who “was of the view that the ends validated the means.
“And he was the one who identified what the end was– it depended on him,” Devereux said. “He was a not watchful of the Constitution, shall we say.”
Kickback plans and great deals of cash
While in workplace as constable, Medford developed an elaborate kickback scheme revolving around prohibited video poker devices and their operators. He enabled them to operate in return for money payments.
Unlawful gaming operators provided thousands of dollars in money at a time to Medford in his office. Some of the cash likewise originated from golf tournaments Medford held two times a year, with gambling operators asked to contribute and sponsor groups.
While Medford spent some of the cash on his projects, during non-election years, he swiped the cash, witnesses said at his trial. He lost $54,000 in kickback money at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, where he gambled on county time.
The day he was founded guilty, Medford said he was saddened by the jury’s verdict that he was guilty of utilizing his position to extort money from betting operators, money laundering and conspiracy to run an unlawful gambling service, according to previous Person Times articles.
“I am dissatisfied,” he said on the actions of the federal court house. “That is all I can state. I am not going to slam the jury.”
Twenty-four people involved in illegal video gambling had currently pleaded guilty by the time of Medford’s conviction.
Medford was sentenced for racketeering, violence, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit mail scams, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, obstruction of state and regional law enforcement, and conspiracy to perform an illegal gambling service, according to the BOP release. He had remained in custody at Butner, which houses 1,184 male inmates, since Dec. 9, 2008.
Medford was ‘old-fashioned’ but had a ‘sense of honor’
Asheville attorney Stephen Lindsay, who represented Medford in the federal case, explained him as one of the finest guys he’s ever understood, one with “a sense of honor about him” who grew up in “old-school” police where previous sheriffs had looked the other method at liquor running, as long as they got a cut.
“Bobby featured great deal of baggage, certainly, however I concerned like him really, very much,” Lindsay said. “There are very couple of individuals I have actually encountered in my life who had as much stability as he did.”
Lindsay acknowledged that might sound a bit odd, considering Medford’s long list of convictions, but he said Medford was an old-school police officer who kept an eye out for the little individuals, hard-working mountain folks just like him. As an example, he mentioned a discussion he had with Medford as they were trying to get the disgraced constable’s case resolved.
“A few of the offers being made to him included him talking about people in our community who law enforcement believed had actually done some bad things,” Lindsay said. “I remember he leaned back in his chair and he said, ‘Steve, provide a message from me: You can inform them to kiss my (expletive) ass.'”
Medford was plagued by pain in the back and other ailments, and was taking a great deal of pain medications later on in his term as constable, Lindsay said, including that others in the department made the most of Medford’s lax management. Medford did not believe video poker need to be prohibited, in fact sensation that it assisted mom and pop shops stay in company.
He got a cut of the profits, but he felt it was “a lesser evil,” Lindsay stated.
“He has a sense of honor about him and there was a very clear line with him,” Lindsay said. “He did so many advantages for people, whether it was getting a bus ticket for somebody to return to household in Oklahoma, or getting somebody heating oil since they didn’t have the money.”
“In the end he was convicted of some things, however his last words to the people around him who benefited from him were, ‘If you require to throw me under the bus to take care of you and your household, then that’s what you require to do,'” Lindsay continued.
Ethical issues in murder cases
However Medford was a complicated guy, and he was corrupt in more methods than greasing his palms with gambling cash. He likewise had a complicated history in his job with high-profile murder cases.
After Karen Styles, 22, was abducted and murdered off the Hard Times trail while out for an operate on Halloween day in 1994, Richard Allen Jackson ultimately was apprehended and charged with murder. Styles’ body wasn’t found for almost a month after she went missing out on.
More: From the archives: Retrial in Karen Styles killing ordered While Medford was questioning Jackson, the suspect said, “I believe I require an attorney present.” After speaking with an assistant district lawyer, Medford continued the interrogation, telling Jackson he knew the guy had purchased a rifle and duct tape 3 days prior to Styles went missing out on.
Jackson admitted, however his legal representatives later on objected to the confession and the case went all the way to the North Carolina Supreme Court, which reversed Jackson’s 1995 conviction and death sentence for the kidnapping, rape and murder. In buying a new trial, the justices stated in a consentaneous opinion that Jackson’s graphic confession to the grisly slaying shouldn’t have actually been enabled into evidence throughout his trial.
Eventually, federal district attorneys founded guilty Jackson on gun charges, protecting a spot for Jackson on death row in Terre Haute, Indiana, where the 50-year-old remains today.
Medford was not one to cross
Former Asheville Citizen Times investigative reporter Tonya Maxwell pointed out another case in which Medford’s habits was much more outright, ethically.
In December 2000, north Buncombe County resident Mary Elizabeth Judd, 18, went missing out on while walking to school in the early morning. Medford put extreme pressure on his detectives, and half-brothers John Collins and David Hammack were arrested in November 2001 and charged with murder.
The brothers were held for nearly 2 years prior to being released. Through her reporting, Maxwell discovered that the crucial witness versus them, Lynette Smith, had actually fabricated her description of seeing the bros filling a body into their automobile.
Smith stated Medford had pressed her into lying by threatening to take Smith’s kids and jail her as a device to the crime. She later recanted.
“I don’t believe there’s any code of honor in railroading 2 innocent men for murder and threatening a woman by saying you’ll take away her children,” Maxwell stated. “He fired deputies who were trying to do the best thing under him, and I don’t think there’s any code of honor in firing deputies who were trying to right that wrong.”
Medford likewise threatened to jail Maxwell after she called him in your home seeking information on the case, and she says she was followed house by deputies on several celebrations.
“There no question that he was much cherished,” Maxwell said. “I saw that he might be extremely wonderful and captivating, but if you were to get cross-wise with him, God help you.”
One problem Maxwell and Lindsay agree on is that Medford did not deserve to pass away of COVID-19 while in federal custody.
Lindsay stated Medford resigned himself to the jail sentence at Butner, where at one point Medford shared a cell with notorious founded guilty Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff. But with all of Medford’s health problem, Lindsay states he needs to’ve been released and sent back house to Buncombe to live out his days among staying family and friends.
“There are few individuals I have actually experienced in my life that I liked as much as I liked Bobby Medford,” Lindsay stated. “I understand some individuals may roll their eyes, but I just have to say he might be simply a gem of a gem of a human remaining in a lot of methods.”
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