Berger in jail after failing to appear; judge orders mental evaluation
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Brian Berger is back behind bars. The New Hanover County Commissioner was arrested this morning after he failed to appear in court.
Berger is no stranger to running behind schedule, but today there was a serious price to pay for his tardiness.
For more than half an hour sheriff’s deputies walked around Berger’s home Friday morning after he did not show up to court. After finally making contact with him, officers arrested Berger for failure to appear.
The deputies said Berger thanked them for their professionalism, but they did not discuss why he had not made it to court.
Downtown, court waited on Berger. He was scheduled to appear at 9:30 a.m. for a violation of a domestic violence protective order filed by his ex-girlfriend Heather Blaylock, who was in the courtroom.
Fellow County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield was subpoenaed to testify. He waited more than an hour before the judge let him and other witnesses go. Barfield said he had a busy day, which was wasted waiting for Berger.
“We’re wasting taxpayers’ dollars,” Barfield said. “For those of community action who are just sitting here for the last hour and a half, those folks could have been at work as well doing their jobs. So I just see it as a total lack of respect and disregard for other people’s time.”
Almost two hours after the hearing was scheduled to begin, Berger finally arrived at the court house in hand cuffs. Judge Shelly Holt quickly issued a $25,000 secured bond pending a forensic evaluation for competency. The evaluation must be done within seven days. The judge may then revisit the bond depending on the results.
The sheriff’s office says Berger’s case was handled according to protocol.
“Mr. Berger has had issues in court the past couple of months, and we’ve tried to address those equally the way we do with anybody else,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer said.
We tried to talk to Commissioner Berger’s attorney Thom Goolsby after the bond hearing, but he declined to comment.
Berger is scheduled to be back in court for this charge Tuesday.
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