Records: Colorado parolee disabled ankle monitor days before killings

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Story highlights

  • It took five days for parole officials to realize Evan Ebel fled, records show
  • Apology not enough for Ebel release, victim's relatives tell CNN affiliate KUSA
  • Ebel is suspected of killing Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements
  • He was let go four years early; court didn't fully explain sentence to prison

It took five days for Colorado authorities to realize a parolee disabled his ankle monitor and fled, beginning what investigators would later say was a deadly crime spree that ended in a shootout in Texas, according to records released Tuesday.

The documents released by the Colorado Department of Corrections detail how 28-year-old Evan Ebel managed to elude authorities in the days leading up to the killings of prisons chief Tom Clements and part-time pizza deliveryman Nathan Leon.

The state Department of Corrections did not respond to repeated requests from CNN for comment.

The release of the documents follows news this week that a clerical error resulted in Ebel's release four years early from prison. That revelation prompted an apology from the district court where the mistake was made.

Ebel was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2005 for armed robbery. In 2008, he was sentenced to another four years -- to be served consecutively -- for punching a prison guard.

A clerical error listed Ebel's four-year sentence as concurrent, meaning he would not have to serve additional time beyond his original sentence.

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For Leon's wife, it was too little, too late.

"Clerical error ain't going to bring my husband back," Katherine Leon told CNN affiliate KUSA. "[It] ain't going to bring Tom Clements back. It's not going to bring my children's father back. How do I tell my 4-year-old (that) daddy was murdered because of a clerical error?"

Authorities have speculated Ebel might have killed Leon for his uniform so he could use it as a disguise in the killing of Clements, who was gunned down after he opened his front door.

Investigators have said they are looking into whether Ebel, a member of a white supremacist prison gang, might have conspired with other inmates to kill Clements. The corrections chief earned widespread recognition not only for prison reforms but also for a crackdown on prison gangs, including the white supremacist 211 Crew, who once counted Ebel among their ranks.

Ebel was released from prison on January 28, according to the records.

Between his release and March 13, Ebel appeared to comply with his parole, which required he wear an ankle monitor, check in daily with parole officials by phone, abide by an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and stay out of bars, the records show.

Ebel told prison guard she would 'beg for her life'

The first indication something was wrong came March 14, when the ankle monitor gave off a "tamper alert."

Here is a timeline of how Ebel managed to elude authorities, according to the corrections department documents and previous statements by authorities:

March 14

Ebel made his daily telephone call to check in with parole officials at 7:20 a.m.

The "tamper alert" went off at 1:54 p.m., and the company that oversees the monitoring system -- known as HomeGuard 206 -- notes the alert at 3:21 p.m. Initially, the ankle monitor was listed "for repair" and a message was left for Ebel to make arrangements to fix the ankle monitor.

By 11:15 p.m., Ebel had not checked in for messages.

March 15

Ebel failed to check in with parole officials, and a message was left for him to report to an appointment scheduled for the next day to repair his ankle monitor.

Ebel again failed to pick up messages. His whereabouts, at this point, were unknown.

March 16

The "tamper alert" for Ebel's ankle monitor was still active, and he failed to show up for an appointment to repair the monitor.

March 17

Contractors who oversaw the ankle monitoring of inmates notified parole officials that Ebel failed to "make contact" to have his ankle monitor repaired.

Authorities believe this was the same day that Ebel killed Leon, the pizza deliveryman, whose body was found in the suburban Denver community of Golden.

March 18

Parole officials contacted Ebel's family to inquire about his whereabouts.

March 19

Parole officials searched Ebel's residence and determined he left quickly or went into hiding to avoid arrest. They begin paperwork to revoke his parole.

That night, Clements was shot to death at his home outside Colorado Springs.

March 20

The state Department of Corrections issued a warrant for Ebel's arrest, citing parole violations.

March 21

Ebel was killed in northern Texas in a gun battle with authorities that left a sheriff's deputy wounded.