Former Murray County Deputy Joshua Greeson told reporters at an impromptu news conference Wednesday afternoon that has been posted on YouTube that he arrested a witness in a state judicial ethics investigation on what turned out to be false charges because he was “following orders that I was given to do,” by his captain, Michael Henderson.
Greeson held the news conference in Rome after pleading not guilty to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday that accuses him of making false statements to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and deleting information from his cell phone in an attempt to obstruct a civil rights investigation.
Greeson said that he arrested Angela Garmley, who had been cooperating with the state Judicial Qualifications Commission in its investigation of Murray County Magistrate Judge Bryant Cochran, based on a lookout for her car that Henderson – who was Greeson’s supervisor and is Cochran’s cousin – had given him several weeks before her arrest.
The JQC had been investigating Cochran for several months before he resigned to end the probe a day after Garmley was arrested. The GBI determined that the methamphetamine that Greeson found hidden beneath Garmley’s car during a traffic stop had been planted, but Greeson has not been charged with planting the drugs. Neither federal prosecutors nor the GBI have said who they think may have done so.
On Wednesday, Henderson’s attorney, Lawrence Stagg, could not be reached for comment.
In the video, Greeson is accompanied by his attorney, Ed Marger, Greeson said that Henderson had given him the lookout, telling him that the car was suspected of “hauling drugs.” He said it was “three weeks or so later” before he spotted it and stopped it for failing to dim the headlights for an oncoming car. The car belonged to Garmley, who was a passenger in the car. But within days, the GBI had recommended that the charges be dismissed because the drugs had been planted.
Greeson said that a day before he was to be interviewed by the GBI, Henderson stopped by his house and warned him “not to mention the lookout on the vehicle he gave me,” Greeson told reporters. Henderson also told him “if I didn’t say nothing about the vehicle that nobody else would know about it,” he said.
Greeson said that he was “scared about what he [Henderson] would do if I didn’t, and repeated what his supervisor had told him to the GBI. But he said he soon changed his mind, contacted GBI agents and told them what Henderson had told him to say. “It was the only thing I told them that wasn’t right,” he said. “If he [Henderson] hadn’t stopped by my house, I wouldn’t be part of this. It was just being afraid of him.”
Greeson also apologized for arresting Garmley.”I never wanted to be a person who done somebody wrong,” he said.
Greeson said that when GBI agents asked him if he had deleted anything from his cell phone in connection with the case, he said he gave them his cell phone freely and told them, “I delete stuff all the time, message, pictures…. Like anybody does.”
He said when agents asked him if he had deleted anything pertaining to the case, he told them he had deleted photos of the drugs he had discovered under Garmley’s car that he had taken when they were in a detective’s office.
“I didn’t think it was substantial when I was deleting them,” he said. “The reason I deleted them was… I didn’t want anything to remind me of this case. It was the worst headache.”