DA’s office plans to keep Johnson case | CraigDailyPress.com

DA’s office plans to keep Johnson case

Former police detective makes 1st court appearance

Collin Smith
Tausha Merwin

Elizabeth Oldham, 14th Judicial District Attorney, said her office does not plan to seek a special prosecutor to handle the case against a former Craig police detective facing felony charges.

Ken Johnson, a police department veteran, worked closely with prosecutors on various cases until he resigned from his position Sept. 8.

Oldham’s decision does not preclude the Johnson defense from contesting her office handling the case.

Johnson made his first appearance Tuesday morning in Moffat County Court, along with Tausha Merwin, a local woman Johnson suspectedly had an improper relationship with during his time as a police officer.

Johnson and Merwin were arrested Sept. 29 after an investigation by the District Attorney’s Office. They were formally charged Oct. 2.

Johnson is charged with attempting to influence a public servant, a Class 4 felony; accessory to crime, a Class 5 felony; and embezzlement of public property, also a Class 5 felony.

Merwin is charged with attempting to influence a public servant, a Class 4 felony.

The two sat together and talked in court Tuesday.

Johnson’s case was heard first out of about 20 defendants, but he stayed another 30 minutes until Merwin’s appearance finished.

Johnson, who is represented by Steamboat Springs attorney Larry Combs, was allowed to modify his bond from $10,000 down to personal recognizance, which has no cost.

He also will be allowed to travel out of the state on a daily basis for work.

The District Attorney’s Office did not object to either request. Johnson signed a waiver of extradition before appearing in court, meaning he will not contest extradition back to Moffat County if he is found outside the area.

Johnson’s case was continued to 11 a.m. Nov. 13.

Merwin said she does not have an attorney. Her case was continued to 2 p.m. Oct. 27.

Johnson is suspected of providing Merwin with information about ongoing law enforcement investigations and the names of confidential informants while they were sexually involved in 2008 and 2009.

Johnson also was a member of the All Crimes Enforcement Team, an area drug task force, during parts of their relationship.

According to arrest warrant affidavits filed against Johnson and Merwin, there is evidence to suggest she used Johnson’s information to tip off other residents involved in the local drug trade.

The affidavit states there is no evidence Johnson knew Merwin was sharing his information, but there is evidence he knew she was associating with known drug offenders.

In addition, Johnson is suspected of helping Merwin violate the terms of her probation, first for possession of a Schedule 2 controlled substance, and then for distribution of a Schedule 2 controlled substance.

Johnson also is suspected to have given Merwin a laptop computer and other electronic equipment owned by law enforcement.

Both are suspected of lying to Craig police officials during a March internal investigation into Johnson’s behavior and his relationship with Merwin.

The Police Department’s investigation was inconclusive, but officials suspended Johnson for a time without pay for using a police vehicle to drive Merwin around town.

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