A bribery charge against a former Vernon County jailer has been dismissed for lack of evidence.
James Michael Tumm, 23, appeared in 28th Circuit Court late last Friday afternoon to hear Associate Judge Neal Quitno grant Vernon County Prosecutor Lynn M. Ewing III’s nolle prosequi, or “do not prosecute,” motion.
Tumm’s attorney, Kendall Vickers of Nevada, said Monday that there was no evidence Tumm had brought marijuana into the jail for inmate Bob True Beisly III. “If any substance was introduced, it had apparently been consumed some time before the incident was reported,” Vickers said.
“The only evidence the state had was statements by Beisly and his girlfriend. My client vehemently denies knowing that anything that could be defined as contraband was introduced into the jail.”
Tumm and former jailer Colby Prough, 39, of El Dorado Springs were charged last September with the Class C felony of concealing prohibited articles on jail premises after allegations were made that they had accepted payments from Beisly’s girlfriend, Joanna Roberts, with Tumm allegedly receiving $1,000 and Prough $1,500.
Both men were released on $10,000 cash bonds. The case against Prough has not been adjudicated.
If convicted, they could have gotten up to a year in the county jail or two to seven years in a state prison.
Prough and Tumm were fired in mid-September by Sheriff Ron Peckman after Chief Deputy Shayne Simmons reported that Roberts had admitted bribing them to take Beisly a bank letter, a photo, a cigarette lighter and a small amount of marijuana inside a clear cigarette wrapper.
Simmons wrote in his probable cause affidavit for the jailers’ arrests that Tumm had “stated it was a wedding gift from Beisly,” who Simmons said had first brought the incident to the sheriff’s attention.
“Tumm also admitted that he was working on the night of Sept. 8 with Jailer Prough, who Tumm knew had received an envelope from Roberts in the parking lot of the sheriff’s office and that it was delivered to Beisly by Prough that night,” Simmons wrote.