Seth Ryan officially became district attorney for the 7th Judicial District on Tuesday, when he was sworn in.
Ryan has appointed Robert Zentner out of the Delta County office as the assistant district attorney and Jessica Waggoner from the Gunnison County office as the chief deputy district attorney.
Ryan has been a prosecuting attorney for the 7th Judicial District for more than 13 years. For six of those years, he served as the lead attorney for the Special Victim’s Crime Unit, which is primarily responsible for prosecuting sex offenses perpetrated against both adult and child victims. Ryan received his Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration from the University of Denver in 1997.
Zentner is a long-time resident of Western Colorado. He earned a bachelor’s degree at CU Boulder and his law degree and MBA from the University of Denver. Zentner is married and has three school-aged children. He is looking forward to working with the court, its staff, law enforcement, and the defense bar in overcoming the challenging hurdles created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Waggoner is a fifth-generation Gunnison County resident. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Western Colorado University, formerly known as Western State University. She obtained her law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of law and has been working with the 7th Judicial District Attorney’s Office since January 2008. During her tenure, Waggoner has worked in county courts, district courts and juvenile courts within the entire 7th Judicial District.
Ryan appointed Deputy District Attorney Aubrey Thompson to take over the Special Victims Crime Unit. Thompson grew up in the small mountain town of Woodland Park. After graduating high school, she joined the United States Air Force. She spent her first year at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, where she earned her Associate of Arts in Russian. During her six years in the Air Force she deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. While in the Air Force she earned her bachelor’s of arts in criminal justice with a concentration in forensics.
After being honorably discharged from the Air Force she attended Creighton University School of Law. In 2015 she graduated from Creighton University with a Juris Doctor and a Master’s of Science in Alternative Dispute Resolution. Her love of Colorado brought her back and she joined the 7th Judicial District in August of 2016.
Long-time Legal Services Director and Public Information Officer Sherry McKenzie has decided to retire and will be replaced by Denetta Sandoval. Sandoval was born and raised in Olathe, Colorado. She has extensive experience and has worked within a law enforcement or judicial setting for the past 15 years.
She has worked as a dispatcher for the Colorado State Patrol, a legal administrative technician for the 21st Judicial District, a judicial assistant for the Moffat County Combined Courts, an administrative assistant for the 14th Judicial District Probation Office, an office manager for the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and she joined the 7th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in 2014 as the sex offense victim specialist. In 2016 she was honored by the Colorado District Attorney’s Council naming her the victim advocate of the year.
District Attorney Investigator Josh Carrell is a 20-year veteran in law enforcement and will be the new public information officer for the 7th Judicial District.