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Inmate admits fatal prison attack was "all about the body count"

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The Associated Press - Updated: December 13, 2013 at 9:46 pm

ORDWAY - A prison inmate accused of killing one correctional officer and seriously wounding a second said he had planned to kill a third in order to boost his body count to "at least three."

"I'll be honest with you. It was all about the body count," Miguel Alonso Contreras-Perez said in an interview videotaped on Sept. 25, 2012 and played in court at his preliminary hearing Thursday.

Sgt. Lori Gann, who barely survived the attack, often became so upset during Thursday's session that she had to step out of the courtroom weeping.

Perez had admitted that his third intended victim was another correctional officer he believed was having a sexual relationship with Gann.

Perez is charged with killing Sgt. Mary Ricard and attempting to kill Gann with a kitchen butcher knife at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility on Sept. 24, 2012. He is an Army deserter who was sentenced in 2004 to 35 years to life in prison after he raped a 14-year-old girl he kidnapped in Colorado Springs.

According to Perez, the attacks on the correctional officers were spurred by a jealous rage. He was upset because he believed Gann was having a sexual relationship with another inmate and a staff member.

Perez frequently contradicted himself. Despite many insinuations and claims on a letter that he had sexual encounters with Gann, Perez gave a much different accounting in a videotaped interview the day after the attacks.

Perez often leaned over and shared a chuckle with his attorney while a series of videotapes and audio recordings of him speaking with investigators about the attacks were played in court Thursday.

Just a few feet away, a correctional officer who interrupted the assaults, Sgt. Lisa Orozco, sobbed during the hearing.

Perez readily acknowledged to investigators that Gann did speak about sexually related topics but his only physical encounters with Gann were two occasions when they had been together in a cooler and he intentionally brushed up against her buttocks and breast in a way that seemed accidental.

Perez said one time he had a chance to kiss her in the cooler but lost his nerve.

District Attorney Rod Fouracre played footage from several security cameras in the prison that captured Perez as he prepared his attacks. At one point he puts an extra large shirt on that he has brought into the kitchen on a food cart. The video shows Ricard bringing Perez into a locked storage area.

They walk behind rows of food carts where Perez allegedly stabbed Ricard in the neck. Only their heads can be seen as the attack occurs. Perez declined several times in interviews with investigators to say what Ricard's last words had been, saying it would make him look bad. He later writes a letter stating she told him she has kids and grandkids.

Fouracre entered into evidence several letters Perez' wrote to friends and prosecutors boasting about the murders. One letter written shortly after the murders and before he learned that Gann survived boasted about killing two "pigs."

"I'm a soldier and killing is what I was trained to do," he wrote in another letter to a prosecutor in which he said solitary confinement at Colorado State Penitentiary is a "joke." He gets a free TV. "I enjoy the solitude." He wrote he was proud to be a "cop killer," while in another letter complained everyone was making such a big deal about killing Ricard.

"It was only one little itty bitty person," he wrote in a letter. He wrote that he did Ricard a favor because she is a Christian lady and is now in heaven.

In a letter to the Crowley County District Attorney's office, he predicted he would "get off" just like the "Chuck E Cheese" killer Nathan Dunlap, referring to Gov. John Hickenlooper's recent decision to grant Dunlap a "temporary reprieve."

He wrote that "it's my party" and he could kill whenever and whomever he wished. One letter taunted prosecutors, saying jurors at his trial would be his "puppets."

Also Thursday morning, the court heard a series of video interviews conducted by Terry Reeves, an investigator for the Inspector General's Office. Just hours after the attacks, he asked Perez why he stabbed the officers.

"I don't want to tell," Perez said, speaking low and pausing. "I don't want someone to look at me and say, 'That's a ... monster.' The issues I have they can't fix. The issues I have God won't fix them. If no one is going to fix them, why should I talk about it?"

Perez said he attacked Gann for revenge.

"I wanted her ... alive, and I wanted her ... dead. But I couldn't have both."

As for Ricard, he said: "This one, it was ... umm, I would describe my act as evil and wicked."

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