Suspect in Colorado prison chief killing spent bulk of sentence in solitary

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 28, 2013 11:05 PM
Suspect in Colorado prison chief killing spent bulk of sentence in solitary

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A parolee suspected of killing Colorado's prisons chief spent most of his eight-year prison sentence in solitary confinement for assaulting and threatening to kill jailers and fighting with other inmates, prison records made public on Thursday showed.

Evan Spencer Ebel incurred 28 disciplinary infractions in the five state prisons where has housed between 2005 and his mandatory parole in January, the Colorado Department of Corrections said in a statement accompanying the records.

Ebel was initially sentenced to three years in prison on robbery, menacing and other charges, but quickly earned more time for his violent and disruptive behavior.

Seven months into his incarceration, Ebel told a female corrections officer that he would "kill her if he ever saw her on the streets and that he would make her beg for her life," one disciplinary entry noted, which resulted in his placement in solitary confinement.

The 28-year-old son of a prominent Colorado attorney died in a shootout with police near Decatur, Texas, following a high-speed chase and gun battle last week.

Investigators said the handgun Ebel used to shoot at Texas police officers matched the weapon that killed Tom Clements, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Clements, 58, was gunned down when he answered the door at his home south of Denver on March 19. Police have not said if Ebel killed Clements, but call him their prime suspect.

The records released on Thursday also confirmed that Ebel was a member of the 211 Crew, a violent white supremacist prison gang. He went by the moniker "Evil" Ebel and had a swastika tattoo.

Corrections officials classified him as a "very high risk" to re-offend upon his release from prison.

Meanwhile, the 22-year-old woman arrested for providing the 9mm handgun to Ebel that was used in the killings made her first appearance in court on Thursday, according to the Arapahoe County clerk's office.

Stevie Marie Vigil is charged with illegally buying a firearm and a judge ordered her held on a $25,000 cash bond, and set an April 30 date for a preliminary hearing.

Agents with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations arrested Vigil on Wednesday for allegedly using her clean criminal history to buy the weapon from a Denver-area gun dealer in early March.

The licensed dealer cooperated with authorities, who said he was unaware of Vigil's plans for the gun.

Vigil then transferred the gun to Ebel, in a so-called "straw purchase," police said. As a convicted felon, Ebel could not legally possess firearms.

Courts records in the case are sealed, so it is unclear what connection Vigil may have had to the 211 Crew. She faces a maximum 16 years in prison if convicted.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Lisa Shumaker)