Worth sheriff arrested on new charges

Worth sheriff arrested on new charges

SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - Suspended Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby turned himself in at the sheriff's office Tuesday morning, where he was arrested and charged with influencing witnesses, obstructing law enforcement officers, and violation of oath of office, according to Tift Circuit District Attorney Paul Bowden.

Governor Nathan Deal suspended Hobby after he was indicted on other charges in October.

These charges stem from an ongoing investigation after the controversial drug search in April at Worth County High School.

Between Monday night and Tuesday morning, warrants were taken for the new charges.

Bowden said that the charges are based on actions he claims Hobby took around the time that the grand jury was hearing evidence on the case against Hobby for the search.

The warrants said that Hobby told employees at the sheriff's office to not discuss the search with anyone who didn't work there. Including the GBI and the DA's office.

The warrants also say Hobby threatened to fire employees if they spoke about it.

Hobby had his first appearance Tuesday morning, according to acting Sheriff Bobby Sapp. No bond has been set at this time, and Hobby is still in the jail.

How the community is reacting

A lot of people in Sylvester said they are actually afraid to talk about the investigation. If you call the sheriff's office, Hobby's wife answers the phone, because she works there.

Worth County residents have expressed a wide range of opinions after their elected sheriff, Jeff Hobby, was put behind bars in the jail he once ran.

"I was really mad and a lot of other parents were mad. The whole parking lot was full of parents, and they couldn't even get into the school," explained parent and resident Tammy Price. "I'm happy that he is arrested. And I hope he don't get bond. And maybe he will stay in there because nobody is above the law. It's different you've got this side and this side and then that side and that side."

"I think the Sheriff has done a good job. I support him," explained resident Howard Carter.

"It says in God's word beware your sins will find you out. And God does that because he loves us. And they have come out in the open in order to be healing," said resident Carolyn Wells. "When they do something that's wrong they need to be treated just like everybody else that does something wrong. That's just the way I feel."

Wells said that all she can do is look to her faith during this period of time in Worth County. She said she doesn't know if he's guilty, she said that's for a court to decide.

"He broke the law, he needs to pay the consequences," said Price.

But until that court decides, the people of Worth County are expressing their opinions.

"I feel like if we have to give up a little personal freedom to keep drugs out of our schools, then that's a good thing for us to do," Carter said.

What's next?

Hobby's initial arraignment for his previous charges was set for December 11th, but that has been waived.

Hobby has been transferred to the Turner County Jail.

MORE ON THIS STORY:

+Worth Co. sheriff defends controversial school search
+Students speak out, parents file complaints against Worth Co. Sheriff's office
+Worth Co. High School parents voice concerns at NAACP meeting
+Lawsuit filed against Worth Co. Sheriff's Office for controversial search
+Residents band together to support Sheriff Hobby
+Sylvester-Worth NAACP fall short on Sheriff Hobby recall signatures
+Worth Grand Jury returns six indictments after controversial school search
+$3 million settlement reached in Worth Co. search, interim sheriff appointed

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