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Person of interest in prison death has lengthy record

4:35 PM, Sep 26, 2012   |    comments
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Prosecutors have yet to charge Miguel Alonso Contreras-Perez with the death of Sgt. Mary Ricard, but on Wednesday the Colorado Department of Corrections confirmed that Contreras-Perez is a "person of interest" in the case. 9News first reported his possible involvement on Tuesday.

Contreras-Perez is serving an indeterminate sentence (up to life) for the 2002 kidnapping and sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in Colorado Springs. Investigators accused the one-time Fort Carson soldier of taking his victim from a bus stop. In 2004, a judge gave him a sentence of 35 years to life for his role in the crime. Legal observers say the state's tough sex offender laws and their ability to keep offenders in prison much longer than the minimum would have likely put Contreras-Perez away for life.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Corrections confirmed that Contreras-Perez had received nine write ups since the start of his sentence in 2004. In 2006, for example, he was written up for a physical altercation with another offender. In May of 2011, he was written up five times for charges of sexual harassment, according to DOC spokesperson Alison Morgan. Morgan could not immediately elaborate on the nature of the accusations.

The following month, Contreras-Perez was transferred from Buena Vista Correctional Facility to the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility near Ordway.

On Monday, multiple sources told 9News Contreras-Perez used a sharp object to stab Ricard and Sgt. Lori Gann during breakfast preparation inside the prison's kitchen. Sgt. Ricard died at the prison. Sgt. Gann received serious wounds and remains at Pueblo's Parkview Hospital with unknown injuries. It's unclear if the weapon was obtained from inside the kitchen or elsewhere. Knives in the kitchen are supposed to be attached by chain to a fixed object such as a wall.

Contreras-Perez is now at the Colorado State Penitentiary awaiting word on possible charges. It's customary to transfer inmates accused of serious crimes to CSP. Prosecutors have yet to formulate their case, but they do have the results of an autopsy that was performed on Tuesday. The results of that autopsy have not been released.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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