May 7, 2024

Former Noxubee County Sheriff Pleads Guilty to Making False Statements in Connection with Federal Investigation

Morgan Howard

Terry Grassaree

The former Sheriff of Noxubee County pleaded guilty today to making false statements to agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding his relationship with an inmate in the Noxubee County jail.

According to court documents and statements made in court, 61-year-old Terry Grassaree, of Macon, made a materially false statement to the FBI in July 2020, when questioned about requesting and receiving nude photos or videos from an inmate in the jail that he oversaw as the Sheriff of Noxubee County.

Grassaree used his position as Sheriff to solicit and accept nude photos and videos from a female inmate in exchange for favorable treatment of the inmate. Grassaree provided her with benefits at the jail that other inmates did not receive, or did not receive as often, including allowing the use of a contraband cell phone, tobacco, and other items. She was also made a trustee and given a job cooking in the jail.

On March 5, 2019, Grassaree used a social media platform to request a video from the inmate. On the same date, Grassaree received multiple nude images from the inmate via the social media platform and responded in a flirtatious and complimentary manner.

During an interview with the FBI, Grassaree lied about receiving the photographs, and these statements were intended to influence the FBI’s investigation of Grassaree and the treatment of detainees in the Noxubee County jail.

Grassaree was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 5, 2022. One of Grassaree’s former deputies, Vance Phillips has also pleaded guilty to using facilities in interstate commerce, namely, the internet and a cellular phone, for the purpose of committing the offense of bribery. Phillips is awaiting sentencing and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Grassaree is scheduled to be sentenced on August 7, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Todd W. Gee of the Southern District of Mississippi and Special Agent in Charge Robert Eikhoff of the Federal Bureau of Investigation made the announcement.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly Purdie and Dave Fulcher are prosecuting the case.

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