Former Police Chief Found Not Guilty

A former police chief charged with assaulting his wife last year during a domestic disturbance was found not guilty of the charges Monday in Johnston County District Court.

Everett Franklin “Frankie” Harrell was found not guilty of misdemeanor assault on a female for the November 28, 2018 incident at the couple’s home in the 9200 block of Devil’s Racetrack Road in the Bentonville community outside of Four Oaks.   A second charge of assault on a female for an incident 5 days earlier – November 23, 2018 – was also dismissed.

Harrell was the police chief in Newton Grove when the alleged incidents occurred last November.  He resigned from his job the following week, just minutes before the start of a special-called meeting of the Newton Grove Town Board to discuss the personnel matter.

On Nov. 28th, Harrell’s wife claimed she was in her car in the driveway of their home finishing a cell phone call with her brother when her husband came out of the home and demanded to know who she was talking to. She claimed he grabbed her neck causing the phone to fall out of her hand.  She then called 911 reporting the incident.  A deputy who responded said he saw red marks on her neck.

In a separate court ruling, a domestic violence restraining order taken out by his wife was also dismissed.

Also Monday, Mr. Harrell filed a civil complaint against his estranged wife seeking custody of their children. Kelly Harrell and the children are reportedly now living out-of-state. 

Prior to his resignation last year, Frankie Harrell had been the Newton Grove Police chief since 2004. Previously he was a school resource officer with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office at Smithfield-Selma High and also worked with the Pine Level Police Department.  Harrell graduated from South Johnston High School.