The Colorado Department of Corrections has just announced the results of an audit intended to determine if any people on parole were mistakenly released early or sentenced incorrectly -- and the numbers aren't exactly reassuring. Nearly 2,000 cases were designated for judicial review, out of 8,000-plus, and of those, 267, well over 10 percent, required changes. In the end, nine onetime offenders were sent back to jail, while two others are missing. Look below for details, including a massive document listing the parolee-by-parolee findings.
As we've reported, Ebel, pictured above, was released from prison this past January, despite a staggering number of in-custody offenses. A few short months later, he killed 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.
In April, the 11th Judicial District 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, Governor John Hickenlooper, who knew Ebel's father and was a close colleague of Clements, called for an audit of parolees, to make sure other errors involving confusion over consecutive and concurrent sentences hadn't occurred.
Unfortunately, they had, as depicted in the following graphic, from an audit summary obtained by 7News:
As you can see, the records of 8,607 offenders were reviewed, and after a first pass, possible problems cropped up among 3,249 of them. A second review cut that number down to 1,807, all of which were subjected to judicial scrutiny. And plenty of troubles were found.
Continue for more about the Department of Corrections audit, including another graphic, a video and stats for every parolee analyzed. As a second graphic shows, 280 of the 1,807 cases are still awaiting responses -- and of the remaining 1,785, another 271 still await a final determination. That left 1,514 cases, of which 276, or 18 percent, required what's technically referred to as amended mittimuses. The graphic counts 268 individuals as having been impacted (because a handful had more than one), but multiple reports maintain that the actual total is 267:
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Allison Morgan added to 7News that nine people were sent back to prison due to the audit, while twelve others were returned to parole status.
On top of that, two remain at large.
Continue for the 7News report, followed by the complete consecutive sentence audit results, which runs an incredible 822 pages and lists the status of all the offenders whose records were eyeballed.
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More from our Mile High Murder archive circa March: "Evan Ebel: John Hickenlooper knew dad of alleged Tom Clements-Nathan Leon killer."