DeKalb County Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown, left, was murdered at the direction of Sidney Dorsey, the outgoing sheriff, in 2000.
Photo: File photos/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: File photos/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia sheriff murdered his political rival 18 years ago, here’s why

>> Read more trending news 

Derwin Brown, who’d just defeated Sheriff Sidney Dorsey for DeKalb County’s top law enforcement position, was followed to the driveway of his home. 

Voters had elected Brown largely on his promise to clean up corruption and kickbacks that had troubled the office for decades. He was just days away from taking office to begin fulfilling that pledge.

Trouble was, outgoing Sheriff Dorsey was afraid of said investigation. 

He wanted to stop it.

>> Trending: Woman is 4th metro Atlanta resident to drown off Panama City Beach, Florida, since June

Brown, a veteran of more than 20 years in DeKalb policing, was ambushed when he arrived home from a party on Dec. 15, 2000. He took at least 10 bullets and fell to the ground clutching roses he’d brought for his wife. It was her birthday.

Brown left behind five children and wife Phyllis, who suspected Dorsey had played a hand in the killing.

She pointed a finger at Dorsey from the witness stand two years later as the disgraced sheriff was on trial for murder, accused of putting up employees to kill Brown.

"You called him the lowest scumbag on Earth," she said. "I beg to differ. That is you. That is you. As you watch yourself in the mirror, you are the lowest scumbag on the Earth."

That day, Dorsey claimed he was innocent even. He was convicted still.

>> Trending: Argument over bandana and gang ties led to fatal shooting, victim's father says

"I know you are going to sentence me severely," he said, looking up at the judge and raising an open palm for emphasis. "But I do not have the blood of Derwin Brown on my hands."

But he confessed in 2007 while serving life.

He remains in Georgia State Prison.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. Atlanta. News. Now.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. Atlanta. News. Now.