James Metts' career filled with accomplishments, controversies - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Metts' career filled with accomplishments, controversies over 42 years

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With Gov. Nikki Haley suspending Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts following Tuesday's indictment, former Lexington Chief Deputy Lewis McCarty now returns to lead the local agency.

Metts was slapped with 10 counts of bribery and conspiracy by federal authorities leading to what could be the end of a 42-year career as the county's top lawman which started for him at age 25.

His time in office saw him earn a Ph.D in Education, several awards, and credit for firsts including hiring women as sworn personnel, hiring school resource officers and creating units to stop DUI and CDV.

Metts' work to track down 80's serial killer Larry Gene Bell inspired a made-for-TV movie.

While there were great moments in Metts' career, there were controversies as well.

In the late 90's, Metts launched a brief independent candidacy for governor after accusing then-Governor David Beasley of lying about taking down the Confederate flag.

He argued publicly with county council members over funding and had to defend himself from questions about video poker in his county.

Metts now faces up to 20 years of jail time if convicted.

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