Four days after being indicted by a state grand jury and resigning, former Abbeville County Sheriff Charles Goodwin pleaded guilty to misconduct in office on Friday.
In court, Goodwin admitted to receiving cash kickbacks from county funds paid between January 1998 and November 2011. The funds were paid to a local auto body repair shop during that timeframe, according to the indictment.
Goodwin also admitted he used an inmate from the South Carolina Department of Corrections to perform work on his personal vehicles and his family's property.
The judge sentenced Goodwin 10 years suspended to five years probation and 100 hours community service. He must also pay restitution of $4,445.
With his wife by his side, Goodwin apologized to his family and the citizens of Abbeville County.
"I'm grateful for the 39 years in law enforcement I was allowed to serve as a law enforcement officer, especially the 24 years as sheriff," Goodwin said. "I thank them for their support over the years and even now."
Goodwin said he had no excuse for his actions and that he had a lapse in judgment.
"One day I hope to be remembered, not just for my actions which caused my downfall, but for my accomplishments and service to the people of Abbeville County," Goodwin said.
Upon Goodwin's resignation, Abbeville County Coroner Ronnie Ashley assumed the duties of the sheriff, which is required by law. Ashley will serve as sheriff until the governor appoints an interim sheriff. The interim sheriff will then serve until a special election can be held.
Goodwin, a Democrat, was re-elected as sheriff in November.
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