Man sentenced to life without parole for murdering man, hiding body in dumpster in Cobb County

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Cobb Superior Court Judge Julie Adams sentenced Garfield Royes Norris, 54, to life without parole plus an additional 23 years after Norris was convicted of a murder in which he attempted to hide the body in a dumpster with elaborate layers of wrapping.

A public information release from the office of Cobb County District Attorney Flynn Broady Jr. describes the discovery of the body and the investigation that ensued as follows:

“On October 9, 2021, Cobb County Police officers were dispatched to 195 Chastain Meadows Court, Suite 110, Kennesaw, GA in reference to a suspicious, foul-smelling package found inside a dumpster behind the business complex. After cutting into the deeply wrapped package, detectives saw what appeared to be human flesh. The Cobb County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene and confirmed that the package, which contained numerous layers of plastic, ratchet straps, tape, cardboard, a dog tether, and other miscellaneous items, contained a human body. An autopsy was conducted and though no cause of death could be determined, the manner of death was ruled a homicide.

“The body was later identified as James Creighton, who was reported missing on September 21, 2021. An AT&T employee of more than 20 years, Creighton had never missed a day of work. When he didn’t show up to work that day, his coworkers and friends immediately suspected something was wrong and reported him missing. Creighton’s friend told police that Creighton’s device was last known to be in the Kennesaw area, per CitizensApp. The only associate of Creighton’s known to live in the Kennesaw area was Garfield Norris.

Through a lengthy investigation, Cobb County Police discovered that Norris was in possession of Creighton’s BMW within hours of Creighton’s disappearance. Additionally, Norris took multiple trips to his storage facility in Creighton’s BMW in the days that followed. The trips to the storage facility totaled more than eight hours. Following Norris’ arrest, detectives found a fake bill of sale for the BMW that had Creighton’s forged signature as well as messages about what police can do during a missing persons investigation. Detectives interviewed Norris’ wife, who reported that the vehicle reeked of a strong odor.

“Geolocation data was obtained and showed, in addition to the various trips to the storage facility, Norris cased the dump site location no less than four times in the two weeks following Creighton’s disappearance before finally dumping his body in the dumpster.”

“James was generous to a fault. He went out of his way to help this defendant and in return this defendant maliciously murdered him and threw him in a dumpster” said Senior Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Green. “This defendant spent countless hours wrapping James up and multiple weeks harboring his dead body. This sentence ensures he will die in prison for his heinous actions.”

Assistant District Attorneys Stephanie Green and Paul Camarillo prosecuted the case.

Marietta Attorney Reid Thompson represented Norris.