The electronic monitoring bracelet that Evan Ebel, suspected of killing Colorado’s prisons chief, stopped working five days before the murder.
A warrant was issued for his arrest on March 20 for parole violations.
But it wasn't until hours before prisons chief Tom Clements was shot and killed on his doorstep that parole officers went to Ebel's home and noticed he'd taken a large amount of clothing and apparently fled.
The next day, Ebel got into a shootout with deputies in Texas and was killed. Ebel became a suspect in Clements’ murder after authorities found the gun he used in the shootout with deputies matched the weapon used on Clements’ two days earlier.
Judicial officials acknowledged Monday that Ebel’s previous felony conviction was inaccurately recorded and his release in January was an error.
In 2008, Ebel pleaded guilty in rural Fremont County to assaulting a prison officer. In the plea deal, Ebel was to be sentenced to up to four additional years in prison, to be served after he completed the eight-year sentence that put him behind bars in 2005, according to a statement from Colorado's 11th Judicial District.
However, the judge didn't say the sentence was meant to be "consecutive," or in addition to, Ebel's current one. So the court clerk recorded it as one to be served "concurrently," or at the same time. That's the information that went to the state prisons, the statement said.
So on Jan. 28, prisons officials saw that Ebel had finished his court-ordered sentence and released him. They said they had no way of knowing the plea deal was intended to keep Ebel behind bars for years longer.
Colorado court officials have vowed to review procedures to ensure that a clerical mistake that allowed the early release of a prisoner doesn't happen again.
"The Colorado Department of Corrections values its long-standing partnership with the 11th Judicial District and the district attorney's office to maintain order at the prisons in Canon City," Gov. John Hickenlooper's spokeswoman Megan Castle said in a statement.
"We commend both the 11th Judicial District and the DOC for reviewing their own internal processes and procedures."
Charles Barton, chief judge of the 11th Judicial District, and court administrator Walter Blair, said in a statement that the court regrets the oversight "and extends condolences to the families of Mr. Nathan Leon and Mr. Tom Clements."
Leon's widow said the apology wasn't going to cut it.
"How do I tell my 4-year-olds, 'Daddy was murdered because of a clerical error,'" Katherine Leon told KUSA-TV in Denver.
Leon's father-in-law told AP he had no immediate comment.
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