LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — Parents depend on North Carolina's sex offender registry to track convicted predators living in their neighborhoods, but some offenders in Lincoln County could appeal, and even have their names removed.
This is because a detective's cases are now in jeopardy.
The district attorney said he wants to prosecute as many criminals as possible, but not by putting the rule of law in jeopardy.
He knows that if there are significant questions about former Detective Brent Heavner's credibility it could allow several convicted child predators an opportunity to be removed from the registered sex offender's list.
Former Lincolnton police investigator Heavner faced off in court Wednesday with his former chief and second in command.
They said Heavner lied in an internal investigation and that may raise serious questions about his ability to be truthful as a witness in court.
Prosecutors want a judge to let them get recordings from his personnel file that might reveal if Heavner lied.
"We believe that what his record would show, is that he was an exceptional officer," defense attorney Michael Elliot said.
Heavner didn't speak in court Wednesday, but his attorney only said there is more to the story that led to Heavner's termination last month.
"He was fired for doing the job that he was sworn to do," Elliot said.
Heavner targeted online child predators netting more than 54 arrests.
The DA said if Heavner's credibility is questioned, some of those found guilty can try to have their convictions overturned, and have their names removed from the sex offender registry.
Caleb Disorda is appealing his conviction.
He believes he can prove that Heavner entrapped him and lied and the DA's investigation may help prove that Heavner can't be trusted.
"If I can win an appeal, that may open up the doors for others who have suffered the same as me," Disorda said.
That is the last thing that parents Terry Walker and Alisha Chaney want.
"You don’t know if it’s safe or not for your kids to go out and play," Walker said.
They want to know the address of everyone found guilty of targeting children.
“We shouldn't have to worry,” Chaney said.
Heavner's hearing Wednesday was continued.
The DA said he wants Heavner’s case resolved in the next month.
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