Killer of Colorado Prisons Chief was Released by Mistake

Friday, April 05, 2013
Murder victim Nathan Leon

Evan Ebel, the man suspected of killing Colorado’s prison chief and another man in March, was mistakenly freed by a district court earlier this year.


Court officials apologized for the clerical error that resulted in Ebel getting let out four years too soon. Ebel was released on parole in late January without serving any additional time for assaulting a prison guard in 2008. The extra time was supposed to be added to the eight-year term he was already serving. However, because Judge David M. Thorson, at a June 2008 hearing, did not specify this, prison officials treated the sentence as if the two terms were applied concurrently.


The Denver Post also reported that Ebel removed his ankle monitor in March, which should have alerted authorities that the violent offender had violated his parole. Colorado has about 1,500 parolees on alarm systems and officials receive an average of 27 alerts a day that could be the result of tampering. Behavioral Interventions, the contractor that was monitoring Ebel, alerted his parole officer about the tamper alert 14 hours after it happened. The company also left messages for Ebel that his ankle bracelet might need to be repaired.


A search for Ebel didn’t begin until after he had killed Nathan Leon, a pizza delivery driver, and then, possibly wearing Leon’s Domino’s uniform, Tom Clements, the head of Colorado’s prison system.


Ebel fled to Texas, where sheriff’s deputies in Wise County shot him to death.

-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Court Apologizes For Clerical Error That Led To Ebel's Release Four Years Early (by Sadie Gurman, Denver Post)

Evan Ebel Violated Parole Rule Days Before Murderous Crime Spree (by Kirk Mitchell and Christopher N. Osher, Denver Post)


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