JEFFERSON — Former Ashe County sheriff candidate, West Jefferson Police Department sergeant and chief of police at Ashe Memorial Hospital James Hendrix received a deferred prosecution in Ashe County Superior Court Monday, Aug. 26, bringing an end to his felony obstruction of justice case which has been in process for more than a year.
Prosecuting the case was Iredell County Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Floyd, who walked through the allegations Hendrix faced. According to Floyd, Hendrix arrived at the scene of Brittany Perkins’ suicide Oct. 13, 2017, with one other person. Hendrix was accused of leaving the scene with a note left by Perkins.
Hendrix was charged with felony obstruction of justice June 11, 2018, by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation. Ashe County D.A. Tom Horner turned the case over to Iredell County D.A. Sarah Kirkman in April 2018, saying at the time, “The circumstances that led the district attorney’s office to getting involved in this case by the prior sheriff’s administration, as well as the fact that (Hendrix) is running for sheriff and is also the hospital chief of police, I think it’s best if someone outside the county handles this.”
As part of the deferred prosecution, Hendrix’s lawyer, Jay Vannoy, admitted Hendrix took the note from the house before turning it over to the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office days later. Vannoy claimed Hendrix did not believe it was obstructing the investigation of a crime, since there was no crime that took place.
The agreement of the deferred prosecution means Hendrix’s charge will be dismissed by the state if he meets the requirements, which is nine months of unsupervised probation and that he not reapply for law enforcement certification. The Hon. Michael Duncan, who presided over the proceedings, said that if Hendrix ever does reapply for a certification, the Iredell County DA’s office and the appropriate authorities will be notified.
Hendrix could not be reached for comment as of presstime.