Riot in jail leads to charges against five inmates

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Five men are accused of assaulting an inmate during a March 12 riot in the Moffat County Jail.

The victim told police that he thought his brother would want him beaten up because he "ratted him out." The victim's brother, who is accused in the assault, and the other four were inmates at the Moffat County Jail at the time of the incident.

The victim was taken to The Memorial Hospital after receiving several cuts under his left eye and on his cheeks and bumps to his head, according to court documents. He also complained about having trouble hearing through his left ear. A doctor filled out a "serious bodily injury" form after treating the victim, who also received X-rays and a computed tomography scan.

Second-degree assault charges have been filed against Matthew Penrose, Tim Ober, Luis Colon, Shane Stockton and Ryan Lesher in connection with the case.

The alleged incident began when inmates entered the victim's cell to confirm that he was the brother of another inmate.

Police reports indicate that the victim recalls the same inmates returning to his cell a few minutes later and knocking him down.

Videotapes from that day indicate Colon, Lesher and Ober entered the cell where the victim was, according to the report. Penrose is shown going to the same cell before the alleged assault and later returning to talk to the three men.

The videotape does not show the alleged assault, the report read.

Reportedly, one of the alleged attackers passed notes to the brother of the victim who was in a different pod to let him know about the attack.

Jail staffers allegedly knew that one of the inmates was threatening to have his brother hurt.

The two inmates were placed in different pods for that reason, the report said.

Colon has been transferred out of the Moffat County Jail.

Lesher pleaded guilty to one charge in a former case but will serve a concurrent sentence with the recent charge.

Jail Administrator Lt. Dean Herndon said the victim also has been transferred from the jail.

The remaining inmates who are suspected in the assault were released Thursday from a 30-day rack down, during which inmates temporarily lose privileges to live in pods among other inmates and have one hour of free time each day.

"We don't know who anybody knows on the outside and who's going to be friends in here," Herndon said.

"If there's a person with a lot of assaults, we try to keep them separate. There's no sign that says, 'watch this guy,' or 'this guy's violent.'"

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com

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