Netflix’s ‘Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness’ is the streaming giant’s wildest true-crime story yet. The seven-part docuseries explores captive ownership of big cats in America, while focusing on the rise and fall of Joe “Exotic”, the former owner of G.W. Exotic Animal Park. As the series progresses, it introduces us to a myriad of characters, each one of whom is shrouded in controversy in one way or another.
While Joe Exotic, the self-fashioned “Tiger King” is as eccentric as it gets, the docuseries offers us what seems to be a buffet of such odd eccentricities. We’re introduced to James Garretson towards the second-half ‘Tiger King’, after Jeff Lowe enters the equation.
Though he initially seems to be an ally, he ultimately turns sides against Joe, becoming an informer for the FBI, who’re investigating Joe. It is ultimately Garretson’s “noble” deed that ultimately gets Joe Exotic arrested for a murder-for-hire plot. But how much do we really know about James Garretson? And what happened to him? Here’s everything we know.
Who is James Garretson?
James Garretson is introduced to us in ‘Tiger King’ as a former Dallas strip club owner, who is fond of big cats, and is looking to expand his own business. While not much is revealed about Garretson’s life and past, it is believed that he was both born and raised in Dallas, Oklahoma. It has also been revealed that James and Joe knew each other for 20 years, from the time Garretson had his own wildlife sanctuary.
From the late 1990s and the early 2000s, James Garretson owned International Wildlife Center around Dallas, and also owned Jungle Paradise Zoo in Florida. But when the ownership laws changed in Texas, Garretson shifted his big cats to Joe’s Park in Oklahoma. According to Carole Baskin, Garretson also had his own travelling cub-petting show, much like Joe’s. This took place between 1997 and 2007, after which Garretson briefly moved to Florida, and then to Ardmore.
While Garretson privately owned several big cats, he sent his other wild cats to Indiana. And instead, decided to invest in strip clubs and bars. He then shifted to Marathon Key in Florida, where he worked for Wakezone Inc, a water-sports and jet-ski rental business. Garretson, through it all, appears to be a stout businessman.
There is also proof to state that James Garretson had been part of Carole Baskin murder scheme. After all, he was the one who travelled with Allen Grover, a convicted felon, and hired hitman, to Dallas in order to obtain a Fake ID from Smith Electric Sign. It is after this that Garretson decided to work as an informant for the FBI. While James may have certainly helped the Feds as a noble deed, it was also an attempt from Garretson’s side to protect himself.
Where is James Garretson Now?
James Garretson played an active role as informant during the investigation against Joe Exotic, and recorded their conversations. It was also Garretson who introduced Joe to the undercover agent who was posing to be the hitman. It was finally in 2018 that Joe was arrested from Florida after the Feds tracked Allen Grover and learned that Joe had paid Grover $3000 for Carole’s murder.
James Garretson testified against Joe Exotic during the trial. But what really happened to the man? While not much information is available about Garretson, it can be believed that Garretson continues to live in his hometown, in Dallas, Oklahoma, and owns Tiger Liquidation in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Being the businessman that he is, Garretson continues to own bars and other business in the area.
Read More: Where is Carole Baskin Now?