District Attorney to file formal charges today in Johnson case
The 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office plans to file formal charges today against former Craig police detective Ken Johnson and local resident Tausha Merwin.
Johnson and Merwin were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of several felonies, and both bonded out of jail the same day.
However, the investigation into their suspected actions – which included possibly tampering with evidence, lying to Craig Police Department officials and discussing the names of confidential informants during a sexual relationship – may have repercussions for other criminal cases.
A case mentioned in Johnson’s arrest warrant affidavit is that of James Jerome Barry, who was convicted in December 2008 of kidnapping and assaulting Merwin.
Johnson assisted in the Barry investigation and testified as a rebuttal witness at his trial, which occurred while he and Merwin suspectedly were seeing each other.
Barry currently is serving a 24-year prison sentence in Buena Vista Correctional Complex.
Steamboat Springs attorney Kristopher Hammond, who represented Barry in court, said he will not be able to file an appeal or request a retrial for his client because he also has represented Johnson in a civil matter since Barry’s conviction.
Representing one client against another would be a conflict of interest, Hammond said.
“I intend to advise Mr. Barry of the developments and get him a lawyer who does not have a conflict of interest,” he said.
Hammond added he does not think he will represent Johnson in his pending criminal case.
The District Attorney’s Office is preparing to release information about Johnson to all past and current defendants whose cases involved him as an investigator or witness.
Barry could not be reached for comment by press time, and it is not known whether he is aware of the investigation into Johnson and Merwin.
According to arrest warrant affidavits filed in Moffat County Court, Johnson helped Merwin violate her probation after her arrest for possession of a controlled substance while the two were allegedly involved.
The affidavits go on to say Johnson provided Merwin with details of ongoing drug investigations and names of confidential police informants. They also state he may have tampered with evidence against Merwin for a drug distribution charge in 2008, and gave her a laptop computer and equipment owned by law enforcement.
Johnson and Merwin are suspected of misleading Craig Police Department officials during a March internal affairs investigation into Johnson.
They are scheduled for their first court appearance at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 13 in county court.
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