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Former N.C. Deputy Pleads Guilty to Blackmail

The plea means that John Timothy Fender, 29, of Lexington can no longer serve as a law enforcement officer in North Carolina.

Prosecutors said Fender received thousands of dollars from the teacher at South Davidson High School.

In a plea bargain with prosecutors, Fender pleaded guilty in District Court to one count of common law blackmail, a misdemeanor, and permanently surrendered his state law enforcement certification.

Judge April Wood, noting that Fender had already repaid the $3,250 he took from the teacher and lost his certification, issued a prayer for judgment in lieu of sentencing Fender to probation, the maximum sentence he could have received in light of no prior convictions.

"I think that, given the totality of the circumstances, to punish Mr. Fender would actually be unfair," she said.

Fender was hired in March 1997 and worked as a school resource officer for Brown Middle School in Thomasville for the last two years. He also filled in as a substitute resource officers at other county schools, including South Davidson High School. He was fired Dec. 10.

Fender's lawyer, Darrell Whitley of Denton, noted that Fender returned the money and simply wanted the teacher to stay away from his wife.

"He didn't want money," he said. "He just wanted everyone to leave him alone."

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