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Originally published: 2013-12-18 11:40:07
Last modified: 2013-12-18 11:40:53

DA concludes ACSO acted appropriately handling Pritchard

Sam Calhoun / (

District Attorney Jerry Wilson believes the Avery County Sheriff’s Office acted appropriately and did not use excessive force against Walter Earl “Dood” Pritchard, according to a Dec. 16 statement from the N.C. 24th District Attorney’s office.

Pritchard was found deceased in his cell at Avery County Jail on July 10. Per state law, whenever a person dies while in police custody, the State Bureau of Investigation is required to investigate the matter fully and then report findings to the respective district attorney. Wilson released findings of that investigation on Monday.

“I have now reviewed the report of the SBI investigation, and have also reviewed the report of the state medical examiner and the Avery County coroner,” Wilson wrote. “As a result, I have concluded that the Avery County Sheriffs Office acted at all times appropriately and within the law in this matter. The force used by them was not excessive under the circumstances and was employed to protect the emergency personnel and others present at the scene.”

To read the complete story, please pick up a copy of your hometown newspaper, The Avery Journal-Times, available at almost 100 locations in Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain, Tenn. To subscribe to The Avery Journal-Times, please call (828) 733-0401 or click to