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Angela Garmley
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Bryant Cochran
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Murray County incident report

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ROME , Ga. -- Two days before police found methamphetamine on her car that wasn't hers, Angela Garmley greeted an acquaintance at her door at 1:30 in the morning.

She had only spent time with Clifford "C.J." Joyce on a couple of occasions, Garmley testified in U.S. District Court on Monday. He was the cousin of a new friend. They smoked methamphetamine together.

But she didn't expect to find him at her trailer in the early hours of Aug. 12, 2012. She testified that Joyce seemed nervous. He told her something about buying or selling a guitar. He said he needed to use the bathroom.

Garmley let him in but stayed near. Joyce kept looking at Garmley's phone. He couldn't calm down. He only stayed a few minutes. Garmley, who was going through a divorce, told him not to exit through the front door.

So Joyce jumped out a back window, Garmley told the jury. He landed outside the trailer, just a couple of feet from her Dodge Charger.

Two days later, a Murray County, Ga., deputy stopped Garmley in her car and found a metal can holding methamphetamine attached near the wheel well. But the district attorney dropped charges against Garmley, and Joyce later pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge related to that incident.

Federal prosecutors, though, believe the conspiracy runs much higher. They believe Joyce acted on behalf of his landlord, Bryant Cochran, the former Murray County magistrate, the one who resigned from office after Garmley accused him of sexual harassment.

The trial against Cochran will continue today. He faces a slew of charges that include conspiring against someone's rights, depriving someone of civil rights, conspiring to distribute a controlled substance and intimidating a witness. He could go to federal prison for 20 years.

On Monday, Garmley took the stand for several hours, explaining her relationship to Cochran and the events that led to her arrest. Her relationship with Joyce and Joyce's cousin, Randy "Bubba" Crook, played an important role.

Garmley's husband reported Cochran to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, sparking an investigation in late July. Sometime after that, Garmley testified, she met Crook. They began to smoke methamphetamine together. That's how she met Joyce.

After Joyce showed up at her Chatsworth, Ga., trailer in August, Garmley said she called Crook and a friend. She was afraid of Cochran and feared that Joyce planted drugs on her. She searched her house but didn't find anything.

"Did you search your car?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Davis asked her.

"No," she said.

"Why not?" he asked.

"Because my doors were locked," she said.

Two days later, Garmley testified, she smoked methamphetamine at Crook's house. He later told her to leave, but she couldn't drive because she stepped on a nail at his house. Crook told another man to drive her home.

On the way to her trailer, Murray County Deputy Josh Greeson pulled them over and found the drugs. Greeson and Murray County Capt. Michael Henderson (Cochran's cousin) later pleaded guilty to obstruction charges and went to federal prison.

Cochran's defense attorney, Page Pate, spent hours cross examining Garmley on Monday. He tried to convince the jury that she is not a credible witness.

For several minutes, he kept a digital picture of Garmley on three screens, for all in the court to see. It is a picture of Garmley in nothing but her underwear, a picture Garmley texted Cochran in April 2012, the week she met him.

Garmley said she sent it to Cochran because she wanted him to take warrants out against three people who beat her up. She said Cochran came on to her, and she needed to make him happy. Pate argued that she was a willing participant and only reported Cochran to authorities when he told Garmley's husband what happened.

Pate also pointed out that Garmley used to manufacture methamphetamine and supposedly sold the drug as recently as September of this year, when the Dalton, Ga., police arrested her.

Pate questioned the text messages and phone recordings that Garmley preserved for evidence. She began to save texts around July 2012, even though her interactions with Cochran began in April.

"Where are these texts?" Pate asked her, referring to the ones that apparently indicate his client sexually harassed her.

"I deleted them," she said. "I never wanted to start no drama."

She said she changed her mind in July, when Cochran told her husband that Garmley tried to have sex with him.

Contact Staff Writer Tyler Jett at tjett@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6476.

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