In an unusual
move, a Marbleton woman requested a hearing
to change her “not guilty” pleas in 9th District
Court with no plea agreement in place.
Karen Rogers, 68, told District Judge Marv
Tyler she wanted to take responsibility for
her actions and continue her recovery from a
longtime addiction to painkillers prescribed to
her about 10 years ago to deal with pain from
The Aug. 27 videoconference hearing
grew emotional with Rogers’ family speaking
to support her decisions.
Judge Tyler asked public defender Rachel
Weksler if Rogers was making a “cold plea”
– with no agreement whatsoever among them
and Sublette County Attorney Mike Crosson.
On Feb. 14, Rogers walked into a Marbleton
home and called out; the woman living
there said in her victim impact testimony she
hid because she heard voices and thought
someone might be with the woman.
After hearing a lot of noise, the stranger
left with two bottles of prescriptions and the
woman reported the burglary. Deputy Justin
Hays responded. The deputy recognized the
vehicle and person’s description and went to
ask Rogers to show him what pills she had, his
The pills were proven to contain felony
amounts of hydrocodone and diazepam –
more than 3 grams of each, it says.
Rogers was charged with felony burglary
for entering into the home of Adrianna and
Roman Piernick, felony possession of hydrocodone
and felony possession of diazepam.
“She is asking to make a no contest plea
for Count I,” Weksler said. “The event was
some time ago and Mrs. Rogers was in the
throes of addiction and her memory is foggy
of those events. She will plead guilty to counts
II and III.”
Weksler said it would be difficult for Rogers
to provide a factual basis for a guilty plea
and that Rogers was entering the pleas on her
Judge Tyler asked Rogers if she understood
the results of felony convictions. Rogers
was tearful when she said she spoke with her
family and her two sons spoke on her behalf,
saying she was a different person since the arrest.
Both sides argued their points for and
against prison terms or supervised probation.
Crosson recommended two prison terms at
a women’s correctional facility of four to six
years on the burglary charge and the hydrocodone
possession charge and 13 to 24 months
on the diazepam charge, to run at the same
He pointed to a 1976 assault arrest in the
presentence investigation report, saying it
showed Rogers’ “history of violence is high.”
Weksler said that should not have been in
the PSI report because it was dismissed.
Judge Tyler said if a person is only arrested,
or charged and the charge is dismissed,
it could not be considered in his sentencing.
“She has the presumption of innocence is how
I look at it.”
Crosson called Detective Al Kaderavek to
testify via video and asked him of his knowledge
of 2015 and 2016 incidents when Rogers
was “accused of similar conduct.”
The detective said Deputy Hays filed a
2015 report that Rogers was in a Big Piney
home looking through the refrigerator and a
resident asked her to leave. Hays’ 2016 report
stated that a woman believed to be Rogers
knocked on a door and asked to use a bathroom,
helped carry in groceries and asked to
use a bathroom again. Rogers then left and
went to a neighbor’s house, knocked on the
door and went inside, it states.
“You weren’t part of this initial investigation,”
Weksler asked Kaderavek. “You just
reviewed the documents?”
“No I was not involved in that,” he said.
“I reviewed and confirmed them yesterday.”
Weksler asked if he knew why no charges
were filed at that time.
“No I do not,” he said.
The woman made a brief statement to the
court about how she was affected by the burglary.
After Rogers left, she said, “I was in
fear, shock. … It took me a couple months
to not be skittish. Am I tarnished for life? No
– but someone coming in, it invades your privacy.
Your home doesn’t feel like your home
Later, her husband called, telling Judge
Tyler how upset his wife was about the home
invasion of privacy and thefts. “I was not
there,” he said, adding that there would not be
a case if he had been.
Judge Tyler reminded Rogers at sentencing
that people have every right to defend their
homes from people who enter private homes
uninvited and she herself could have been injured
Rogers’ two sons Sam and Josh testified
over the phone that their mother always
worked very hard and treated them well. They
both said the differences between Rogers in
the past five to eight years, though, and after
her arrest while clean and sober were considerable,
noticeable and welcome.
High Country counselor Aaron Preece also
testified that Rogers responded well to what
treatment she had received and recommended
supervised probation with a treatment program.
Judge Tyler said he does not “send people
to prison because they are addicts.”
“I’m trying to figure out if you’re a severe
criminal that has addictions or an addict with
criminal behavior,” he said. “I believe your
addictions caused you to commit criminal acts
… that are egregious.”
In almost every state, people can use
deadly force to protect “the sanctity of someone’s
home” and she did not realize “how
close you came to being severely or fatally
injured in their house.”
The judge said he was “giving her the benefit
that you had a severe addiction that caused
you to commit this crime.”
He accepted her “no contest” plea to the
burglary charge and “guilty” pleas to possession.
He sentenced her to eight to 10 years in
prison for burglary, suspended for four year’s
supervised probation, and suspended a $5,000
fine. He ordered her to serve three months in
the Sublette County Jail as a split sentence.
On the possession of hydrocodone, Judge
Tyler sentenced Rogers to four to six years in
prison, suspended for four years of probation
and substance abuse treatment, and suspended
a $2,000 fine. On the charge of diazepam possession,
he sentenced her to 18 months to two
years, also suspended for concurrent probation.
Weksler asked if Rogers could begin her
jail time Monday; Judge Tyler said it would
depend on the facility’s ability to take her in