Last week, we shared the prison records of Evan Ebel, the man thought to have murdered pizza-delivery man Nathan Leon and Colorado prison boss Tom Clements. But while references in the documents (on view below) to guard-punching and feces smearing may have grabbed the most attention, another word was more important: "concurrently" -- meaning that two four-year sentences he was given in 2008 ran simultaneously rather than one after the other. But that was wrong -- and Katie Leon, Nathan's widow, believes it led to her husband's death.
As we've reported, Ebel was released from prison this past January, despite a staggering number of in-custody offenses. A few short months later, he's believed to have killed Nathan Leon, a father of three, including four-year old twins, possibly for his Domino's pizza jacket, and then Clements, slain at the front door of his Monument home.
Now, 7News notes, the 11th Judicial District has admitted that Ebel's sentence was to have run consecutively, keeping him in prison for up to another four years. But the judge in the case didn't specifically say the sentences were supposed to be consecutive, so this edict was never recorded. Hence, as a matter of policy, the Department of Corrections assumed it was concurrent, cutting Ebel free to kill and kill again before he was gunned down in Texas following the shooting of a deputy and an extended car chase.
In a statement acknowledging the botch, Chief Judge Charles M. Barton and District Administrator Walter Blair wrote, "The court regrets this oversight and extends condolences to the families of Mr. Nathan Leon and Mr. Tom Clements."
Afterward, Katie Leon held her first press conference to share her reaction -- one filled with rage and grief. In her words, "Sorry ain't going to bring my husband back.... It makes me sick and it angers me something fierce, to sit there and think this could have all been prevented. I'm a thirty-year-old widow with two little four-year-olds (and) I have to go on the rest of my life explaining what happened to their dad."
Katie has been sharing the difficulty of this process on her Facebook page. On March 28, she wrote, "My babies are grieving the loss of their daddy today.... Today is the hardest for them.... It kills me for them to ask 'where's daddy??' I don't know what to say other than daddy's an angel now.... I'm heartbroken watching the tears fill their eyes.... I wish I could take their pain away :,("
Since then, she's posted a number of inspirational graphics, including this one....
...and this one:
She's also changed her Facebook profile pic to the closeup of an eye shedding a single tear.
Here's the 7News report about Katie Leon, followed by Evan Ebel's prison records.
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More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Nathan Leon murder: Pizza delivery man's body found near recycling center (65)."