NAPLES — A former Collier County sheriff’s deputy who was fired in March was arrested Wednesday evening after investigators say he repeatedly stalked his most recent girlfriend and her mother.
But former-Cpl. Brandon Roysden, 38, said that he hasn’t been stalking anyone, and was only trying to help keep his now ex-girlfriend from falling into a criminal lifestyle. In fact, he said all the recent allegations against him are not true, and are a black mark on his otherwise spotless military and law enforcement career.
“It cost me my job, everything else that I had,” Roysden said in an interview just hours before the arrest. “I just want to put that behind me and move on with my life.”
Within 24 hours on Monday and Tuesday, the Sheriff’s Office took three reports regarding stalking and suspicious behavior on the part of Roysden. The reports were filed by Roysden’s most recent girlfriend, Ashley Brooke Dryden, 25; Dryden’s mother, Tammy Johnson, 46; and Mary Martin, 73, who is the mother of Roysden’s estranged wife, Michelle.
The Sheriff’s Office obtained a warrant for his arrest from the State Attorney’s Office on Wednesday. Deputies conducted a traffic stop and arrested Roysden without incident at 6:10 p.m. as he arrived home, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Karie Partington said. He will make a first appearance in front of a judge today.
“We are taking these complaints seriously, like everything else,” Chief Jim Williams said in an interview just hours before Roysden’s arrest.
Dryden supported Roysden throughout the kidnapping allegations that ended in his termination from the Sheriff’s Office. However, she said that in recent weeks he has been possessive and clingy, showing up at places she never told him she was going, checking her phone records and trying to prevent her from having contact with Joseph “Joey” Giallanza, 35, who is the father of her 4-year-old daughter.
“He just started being really weird,” Dryden said. “His whole, I don’t know if it was a trust issue or what, but it was very strange.”
According to an incident report filed Monday evening, Dryden and Giallanza were having dinner with their daughter at the South Street City Oven & Grill on Pine Ridge Road. After dinner, as they were leaving in Giallanza’s car, they drove by Dryden’s truck, which they planned on leaving in the parking lot over night.
They then saw Roysden standing behind her truck.
“He came out of the bushes. I saw his face,” Giallanza said. “I said ‘It’s your freaking boyfriend. It’s Brandon.’”
According to the report, Roysden ran toward Dryden with something in his hand. Roysden ran off as Giallanza called the Sheriff’s Office and attempted to chase him, reports said.
“I’m not bullet proof, so yeah, I’m concerned for my safety, my daughter’s safety,” Giallanza said.
Roysden said Dryden was in the process of filling out paperwork for an injunction against Giallanza, who has a long rap sheet, including convictions for battery, running a man down with his car, and domestic violence against Dryden. When he saw her truck parked at South Street, a favorite hang-out of Giallanza’s, he said he stopped by to make sure she wasn’t with him.
When he saw them leaving together, Roysden said, he ran off to avoid a confrontation, but fell into a ditch. He said he didn’t have any weapons, because he isn’t allowed to under a current injunction, and said it was Giallanza who was antagonizing him.
“Joey doesn’t like me. He never liked me,” Roysden said. “I always treated Ashley good, but she’s back with Joey now.
“I don’t stalk people.”
Johnson told investigators that on Monday evening, she saw a man in her backyard. Moments later, he was peering through a stained glass window in the front door of her home, according to reports.
Johnson called her husband, who arrived home about five minutes later. Roysden then knocked at the front door, and was told to leave, reports said. Johnson, who has also expressed support for Roysden in the past, told investigators that Roysden has been calling her home phone and cell phone about 20 times a day for the last few days.
“He’s a good guy. He has good intentions,” Johnson said. “I just think he has too much on his plate. He’s just, I think he falls too hard too fast. Now I’m confused. I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt.”
Roysden said he goes over to Johnson’s house “all the time” to talk to her about Dryden, her daughter. He said he didn’t think he was at Johnson’s house on Monday, but said the last time he was there he didn’t look through the window, but did walk around back to see if Johnson was outside smoking.
“I can’t believe this (stuff) is happening,” Roysden said.
The third report filed against Roysden was filed by Martin, the mother of Roysden’s estranged wife, Michelle Roysden. Martin told investigators that late on Tuesday night she encountered a man in her home, who fled through the front door.
Although it was dark, Martin said she believed it was Roysden.
“I don’t even go to that edge of town,” Roysden said. “I don’t have a key to her dead bolt either.”
Last fall, the Sheriff’s Office began investigating allegations that Roysden had plotted with a group of young Golden Gate men, whom he knew through his work with juvenile offenders, to kidnap Michelle Roysden and her family so he could save them and be a hero. The State Attorney’s Office declined to pursue the case due to a lack of evidence.
Regarding the kidnapping plot, Roysden said Wednesday that another deputy had told him about a burglary, in which two of the young men were suspects. Roysden said he took it upon himself to get information, and started spinning stories to get them talking.
Roysden said he made bad decisions about how the stories were presented, and they snowballed into something that looked worse than it actually was.
“I don’t want to see these people again,” said Roysden, who is planning to leave the state. “I really don’t.”
Michelle Roysden, 39, who has filed for divorce, was happy to hear that her estranged husband had been arrested.
“What a relief,” she said. “I can sleep tonight without one eye open.”