Evan Spencer Ebel, who is suspected of killing Colorado Department of Corrections executive director Tom Clements, was released from custody about four years too early.
Ebel pleaded guilty to assaulting a prison guard and was given four more years in prison back in 2008. Those years were supposed to be tacked onto the eight-year sentence that he had begun serving in 2005. Due to an error by the judge, who did not say that the sentence was meant to be “consecutive,” the court clerk recorded it as one to be served “concurrently,” or at the same time.
Because of the mistake, officials saw that Ebel had finished his court-ordered sentence and released him on January 28. He was killed two months later after a brutal shootout with law enforcement officials.
Besides allegedly killing Clements, it is also suspected that Ebel was also involved in the death of a Domino’s delivery man, Nathan Leon, in Denver, according to The Daily News.
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The court that made this egregious mistake has issued an apology. “The court regrets this oversight and extends condolences to the families of Mr. Nathan Leon and Mr. Tom Clements,” said a statement signed by Charles Barton, chief judge of the 11th Judicial District, and court administrator Walter Blair.
The statement continued: "Because the judge did not expressly state that the sentence was consecutive, the court judicial assistant did not include that term in the [court order] that went to the Department of Corrections.”
Ebel was a troubled prisoner who spent much of his time behind bars in solitary confinement and had a long record of disciplinary violations. During his attack on the prison guard that resulted in him getting the additional jail time, Ebel punched the guard in the nose and threatened to kill his family.