Former Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford, 74, was a resident of federal prison in Butner. He died of complications from COVID-19. Screen image courtesy of WLOS.

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by WLOS staff

A former Buncombe County sheriff has died.

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Bobby Lee Medford, 74, an inmate at the federal prison complex in Butner, died Wednesday as a result of complications from COVID-19, according to a news release.

Medford was evaluated Wednesday, May 20, for issues relating to hypoxia. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment and further evaluation. It was there he tested positive for coronavirus, the release said.

Medford’s condition declined on May 21 and he was placed on a ventilator.

Medford, who had long-term, pre-existing medical conditions, was pronounced dead Wednesday, June 3, 2020, by hospital staff, the release said.

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Medford was was sentenced in the Western District of North Carolina to a 15-year sentence for racketeering, violence, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, obstruction of state and local law enforcement and conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business.

He had been in custody at Butner since Dec. 9, 2008.


WLOS ABC 13 is the ABC affiliate based in Asheville, N.C., and covers much of Western North Carolina. Check your local listings for news programming, or visit

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