Prisoner held in death of female corrections officer

ORDWAY — An imprisoned sex offender described as a person of interest in the death of a female corrections officer had been disciplined multiple times for sexual harassment of women employees at another Colorado prison where the victim previously worked, authorities said Wednesday.

Miguel Alonso Contreras-Perez, 33, has been transferred from Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility, where the officer was killed, to a maximum-security prison while the death is investigated, authorities said.

Contreras-Perez had been serving 35 years to life at the medium-security Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility when Sgt. Mary K. Ricard, 55, died Monday in what prison officials said was an assault involving an inmate in the kitchen of the prison 45 miles east of Pueblo.

Sgt. Lori Gann was critically wounded in the assault.

Alison Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, declined to release details about how Ricard was killed or the circumstances involved. However Crowley County Coroner Karen Tomky issued a written statement late Wednesday saying Ricard died of a stab wound to the neck.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the state Inspector General’s Office are investigating.

Contreras-Perez pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexual assault in El Paso County in Colorado in 2004 in a case involving a 14-year-old girl and was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison, court records show. He began serving his sentence at the Buena Vista Correctional Facility in 2004 and was transferred to the Arkansas Valley facility last year.

Ricard began working at the Buena Vista facility in 2003. She transferred to Arkansas Valley in 2007.


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