“This defendant took an oath to uphold the law and protect the citizens of Murray County,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Instead, he lied to GBI agents investigating an ongoing public corruption case, betraying the community he swore to protect.”
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The criminal conduct of former Murray County Deputy Sheriff Greeson is unconscionable and unthinkable for those serving faithfully within the criminal justice community. Today’s sentencing of Greeson will provide many opportunities for him to reflect on those actions and to serve as notice to others that this conduct will not be tolerated.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: In April 2012, a citizen of Murray County, Ga., had a meeting with then-Chief Magistrate Judge Bryant Cochran related to a legal matter. The citizen claimed that during that meeting, Cochran made inappropriate sexual overtures towards her. In the days and weeks following the complaint, then-Judge Cochran called several local police officers to pass along a tip that the citizen carried drugs in her white Dodge vehicle.
The citizen was Angela Garmley. Cochran denied the allegations but resigned his office after winning re-election. Cochran admitted to the pre-signing of warrants but claimed none of the presigned warrants was used by law enforcement.
On August 9, 2012, Cochran called Greeson, who at the time was a Deputy with the Murray County Sheriff’s Department. Five days after the call, on August 14, 2012, Greeson conducted a traffic stop of the white Dodge vehicle. During the traffic stop, Greeson found methamphetamine in a metal can hidden under the tire well of the car. After locating the drugs, Greeson arrested the driver as well as Garmley, who was the owner of the vehicle sitting in the front passenger seat.
On August 15, 2012, Greeson met with a Superior Court Judge to obtain a search warrant for a urine sample from the citizen. During the meeting, Greeson falsely stated to the judge, in sum and substance, that he had not received any prior information about the white Dodge vehicle prior to stopping it.
Shortly thereafter, the GBI received information that the drugs had been planted on the vehicle by another individual in an attempt to falsely inculpate the citizen. As a result of that information, the local district attorney’s office dismissed the charges against the citizen.
GBI agents interviewed Greeson on August 23, 2012, in connection with an investigation of public corruption and civil rights violations. During the interview, Greeson falsely stated to the GBI agents that he had not received any information about the white Dodge car before he pulled it over.
He met with the GBI for a second interview on August 27, 2012. During this meeting, Greeson admitted to the GBI that he had lied – in that prior to stopping the white Dodge he had, in fact, been provided with information that the vehicle was supposed to be carrying drugs.
Greeson, 26, of Chatsworth was convicted on these charges after pleading guilty on April 12, 2013. On August 29, 2012, he was terminated from the Murray County Sheriff’s Department. United States District Judge Harold L. Murphy sentenced him to 10 months in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Herskowitz and Jeffrey W. Davis prosecuted the case.
Mike Henderson, a former captain with the Murray County Sheriff’s Office as well as a cousin to Cochran, was also fired from the department for lying during the investigation. He has entered a guilty plea to the same charge and his sentencing has yet to be scheduled.
No charges have been filed against Cochran.