An ex-Webster County deputy pleaded guilty to child sex crimes on Wednesday, Nov. 27.
Brent Grey was charged with first-degree child molestation (a Class B felony), possessing more than 20 images of child pornography (a Class B felony), and sexual exploitation of a child by creating child pornography (a Class B felony).
Grey appeared in a Greene County courtroom Wednesday afternoon and listened as Judge Calvin Holden denied Grey's attorney’s request to suppress evidence from his iPhone that had been submitted in court. The iPhone footage included lewd pictures.
The phone was discovered by a Missouri State Trooper during a search warrant investigation at Grey’s residence in January 2018. The Missouri State Highway Patrol paid a company to unlock the phone, according to a probable cause statement from the Stone County Prosecutor’s office. Over 1,000 images found on Grey’s phone were child pornography.
During court on Wednesday, the defense asked to throw out the iPhone evidence, stating investigators illegally entered the house when they took the phone. According to media sources, they also argued there were chain of custody concerns, and noted that the phone wasn’t in an evidence locker the whole time before it was sent off to be unlocked. The prosecution argued that the investigator acted in good faith and did get a search warrant.
Judge Holden denied the motion to suppress and allowed the phone evidence, at which point Grey gave up and opted to enter a plea.
According to Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole, who made the original arrest of Grey, the sentencing will take place in February.
"The horrible nightmare is almost over," said Cole.
Cole made the arrest of Grey at the request of Missouri State Highway Patrol. Grey wouldn't answer his door, and the troopers called on Cole for help. "They were afraid they had a standoff situation," Cole explained.
The sudden guilty plea was a relief to Cole.
"I was just very happy for our victim and her family; I was happy for closure," he said. "The community went through so much over this; it was not fair to anyone involved."
The case was originally brought to Cole through a young girl who was victimized by Grey, forcing the sheriff into the difficult position of having to charge his own deputy on the word of the victim.
“I was super proud of that young lady. She was a class act all the way through — very tough, very strong, and a very honest, good person," he said.
Cole said that catching the predator in his own office's ranks was a team effort of several law enforcement bodies. "We all worked together to catch him," he said.
Concluded Cole, "I'm happy for the victim and her family."