The mistake allowed Ebel to be released from prison on Jan. 28 without serving any additional time for a 2008 conviction for assaulting a prison guard, despite the terms of a plea agreement.
The April 2008 agreement called for Ebel to serve a consecutive prison term of four years — after completing an eight-year stint — for slipping out of handcuffs and punching the corrections officer on Nov. 27, 2006.
Judge David M. Thorson announced the sentence at a June 2008 hearing but did not specify that it was to be served consecutively.
That led to prison officials imposing a sentence that was concurrent, meaning Ebel served no additional time for the conviction.
"Because the judge did not expressly state that the sentence was consecutive, the court judicial assistant did not include that term in the mittimus, the sentence order that went to the Department of Corrections," 11th Judicial District Administrator Walter Blair wrote in a statement. "The court regrets this oversight and extends condolences to the families of Mr. Nathan Leon and Mr. Tom Clements."This is just the latest is a string of odd twists. During a press conference following Clements' death, the man who appointed him as the state's chief prison chief, Gov. John Hickenlooper, recounted how he had discussed with Clements the need to reform the state's prison system and, in particular, the governor mentioned a conversation he had with him about the problems a friend's son had experienced in being placed unnecessarily in solitary confinement for long periods of time. It turned out that the friend's son was Clements' alleged killer, Evan Ebel. Ebel's father, Jack, is a Colorado attorney who had been friends with the governor for more than 20 years and a contributor to his political campaign.
When Hickenlooper was confronted by a news TV news reporter about his relationship with Ebel's father and questioned about whether his relationship with him had played any role in Ebel's early release from prison, the governor became very angry and threatened to cut off the reporter's future access to his office. As a result of a 2011 law supported by the governor and Clements, Ebel's sentence was shortened an additional four months for good time credit for the time he spent in solitary confinement. Before the 2011 law, prisoners were not allowed good time credit for time they spent in administrative segregation. Ebel, who has just recently been released from prison for his original 8-year sentence, would have still been in prison at the time of killings had the 2011 law not been enacted according to the Denver Post.
An assessment report prepared prior to his release noted that Ebel had been a problem inmate with a high propensity to be a recidivist offender. In addition to threatening to kill the corrections officer he was convicted of assaulting, the report noted that he had threatened to kill staff members in two different prisons. "Ebel a member of the white supremacist 211 Crew, was disciplined in prison 10 times for verbal abuse, twice for disobeying staff orders, four times for assault and three time for fighting, the records show" according to the Post. "He repeatedly attacked staff and other inmates with his own feces," the Post added. Ebel was shot and killed during a shootout with Texas law enforcement officers after his car crashed following a high-speed chase with police, who were attempting to stop Ebel because the car he was driving matched the description of a car spotted near the scene of Clements and Leon's killings in Colorado.