UPDATE: Gunnison jail employees suspects in perjury case

By: Montrose Daily Press/KKCO Email
By: Montrose Daily Press/KKCO Email

They were once colleagues. Now, a Gunnison jail captain, sergeant and former detentions officer are all suspects in what is currently being treated as a perjury case.

Warrants for two others, an inmate with a significant criminal history, and his wife, were also issued.

Montrose District Attorney Myrl Serra says Tawnya Sponable, 25, who reportedly worked at the jail, was arrested last night in connection with a Colorado Bureau of Investigation probe into alleged official misconduct at the facility.

She is free on bond. Her case, along with those of co-defendants Melissa Rogers, 27, and Michelle Zadra, 39, has been sealed for 30 days.

According to the CBI, Sponable, identified as a deputy, is suspected of conspiracy to introduce contraband, conspiracy to commit perjury, first-degree official misconduct, false reporting, theft under $500 and possession of a schedule II controlled substance.

Joseph Stromayer, 30, an inmate at the facility, is suspected of introduction of contraband, conspiracy to introduce contraband, conspiracy to commit perjury, third-degree assault, intimidating a witness and conspiracy to intimidate a witness.

His wife, Rachel Stromayer, 25, is suspected of conspiracy to intimidate a witness.

According to the CBI, Joseph Stromayer has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2000 and has spent time in prison for assault, menacing, possession of dangerous drugs, bond violation and parole violation. According to the same record, Stromayer was also arrested late last year on suspicion of sexual assault-10 year age difference. That case is set for a jury trial in Gunnison Oct. 1.

Rogers, a sergeant at the Gunnison County Detention Facility, and Zadra, the jail captain, were also arrested last night on warrants alleging first-degree perjury, conspiracy to commit perjury, first-degree official misconduct and false reporting to authorities.

They appeared in Montrose County Court today, where they were seated in the audience in street clothes, even though they advised the court they were in custody. The court later granted them a personal recognizance bond.

Gunnison County Undersheriff Rick Besecker accompanied them. All three declined comment.

"In the United States, by the Constitution and laws I have sworn to uphold, an accused person is presumed innocent unless proven guilty," Gunnison County Sheriff Rick Murdie says in a statement. "No one in the Gunnison County Sheriff's Department, myself included, is above the law."

According to Murdie, Zadra has been with the department for 19 years. Rogers is a five-year veteran of the force.


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