Life in prison for man who killed victim, left his body in Cobb dumpster

Nearly two years after a man’s body was found in a dumpster behind multiple Cobb County businesses, a man is headed to prison for the rest of his life, officials announced Wednesday.

Garfield Royes Norris was convicted of several charges, including malice murder, concealing the death of another and theft by taking. He was sentenced to life without parole, plus an additional 24 years, the Cobb District Attorney’s Office said.

The 54-year-old was indicted in November 2021 in the death of James Creighton, a longtime AT&T employee who officials said never missed a day of work. But on Sept. 21, 2021, Creighton didn’t show up and his coworkers and friends grew suspicious that something had happened. He was reported missing that day.

About three weeks later, on Oct. 9, Cobb police officers were called to a shopping strip along Chastain Meadows Court about a “suspicious, foul-smelling package found inside a dumpster,” the district attorney’s office said. After detectives cut into the meticulously wrapped package, what appeared to be human flesh was discovered.

Medical examiners went to the scene and confirmed that the package contained a body along with several other objects, including layers of plastic, ratchet straps, tape, cardboard and a dog tether. Norris went to the dump site at least four times before attempting to hide the body there, authorities said.

A cause of death could not be determined.

Detectives soon learned that Creighton’s last known location was in the area of the dump site and his only known associate in the area was Norris, officials stated. Police then found out Norris was in possession of Creighton’s BMW within hours of his disappearance and he took several trips in the car to a storage facility in the days that followed.

Once Norris was arrested just three days after the body’s discovery, detectives said they unearthed that he tried to pass off the victim’s BMW as his own with a fraudulent temporary tag and a fake bill of sale. Officials interviewed Norris’ wife, who reported that the vehicle reeked of a strong odor, but police did not say what had caused that odor.

Credit: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Creighton’s exact date of death was not determined.

“James (Creighton) 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,” Senior Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Green said. “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.”