Colorado Gunman Released 4 Years Early by Mistake

Court blames clerical error for Evan Ebel's release
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 1, 2013 6:10 PM CDT
Colorado Gunman Released 4 Years Early by Mistake
This undated file photo released by the Colorado Department of Corrections shows paroled inmate Evan Spencer Ebel.   (AP Photo/Colorado Department of Corrections, File)

A clerical error allowed the man suspected of killing Colorado's prisons chief to be released from custody about four years early, officials said today. In 2008, Evan Ebel pleaded guilty to assaulting a prison guard in a court in rural Fremont County. He was to be sentenced to four additional years in prison, to be served after he completed the eight-year sentence that put him behind bars in 2008, according to a statement from the 11th Judicial District.

However, the court clerk failed to note after the plea that the sentence was supposed to be served "consecutively," or after, Ebel's current one. So the legal system recorded it as one to be served "concurrently," or at the same time. So on Jan. 28, prisons officials saw that Ebel had finished his court-ordered sentence and had no option but to release him. Two months later he was dead after a shootout with authorities in Texas. The gun he used was the same used to shoot prisons chief Tom Clements, and police believe Ebel was involved in the death of a Domino's delivery man, Nathan Leon, in Denver. (Read more Evan Ebel stories.)

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