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Entries in Tom Clements (5)

Sunday
Mar242013

Colorado Gov. Sympathizes With Parents of Gunman

Colorado Dept of Corrections(Monument, Colo.) -- The parents of Evan Ebel, who signed his name "Evil Evan" and is a suspect in two murders, had a "bad streak" that his parents "tried desperately to correct," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said.

Hickenlooper is a friend of Ebel's father Jack Ebel, whose son is the prime suspect in the killing of a pizza delivery man and Colorado's prisons chief Tom Clements, a murder that brought Hickenlooper close to tears this week.

A shootout with Texas cops that killed Ebel Thursday came despite efforts by his parents that literally spanned the globe to curb an increasingly paranoid and violent son.

A blog maintained by Ebel's mother, Jody Mangue, documented a son troubled from youth who was sent to behavioral programs in Jamaica, Samoa, Mexico and Utah.

Even when he was prison, his parents tried to rescue him. Jack Ebel testified in March 2011 before a committee of the Colorado Legislature regarding a proposal that would require inmates to spend time outside of solitary confinement before leaving prison.

"What I've seen over six years is he has become increasingly ... he has a high level of paranoia and [is] extremely anxious. So when he gets out to visit me, and he gets out of his cell to talk to me, I mean he is so agitated that it will take an hour to an hour-and-half before we can actually talk," Jack Ebel told lawmakers.

The governor on Friday issued a statement that sympathized with his friend Jack Ebel whose son may have killed his other friend, Clements.

"Jack is one of the most kind and generous people I know. His son had a bad streak that I know he tried desperately to correct," Hickenlooper said.

"Although Jack loved his son, he never asked me to intervene on his behalf and I never asked for any special treatment for his son," the governor said.

Ebel dropped out of school, where he had been in a special education program for "severely impacted" students. Friends said he "lost it" when his sister, Marin Ebel, was killed in a car crash as a teenager in 2004. The death seemed to set off a string of criminal behaviors and jail stints for Ebel.

In an undated post on her blog when Ebel was still in prison, his mother hinted at the responsibility the parents felt for his criminal life.

"Some people may blame us for what has happened to Evan. I can only say that his dad and I had to make hard decisions when he was younger hoping to avoid where he is now," she wrote.

Jack Ebel released the following statement on Saturday:

"I am profoundly saddened by the recent events involving my son, Evan Ebel, and offer my most sincere condolences to all of those individuals and families who have suffered from his actions. I ask for privacy for me and my family during this time as we grieve for the loss of life that has occurred and for all of those affected."

A private funeral for Clements is taking place Sunday, followed by a public memorial on Monday at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs at 10 a.m.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar232013

Parolee, Saudi National Eyed as Possible Suspects in Colorado Shooting

Colorado Department of Corrections(MONUMENT, Colo.) -- Law enforcement authorities in two states are investigating whether a parolee who was gravely wounded Thursday after a high-speed car chase in Texas is connected to Tuesday night’s shooting death of Colorado prison chief Tom Clements.

The 28-year-old suspect, Evan Ebel, served time in Colorado and was reportedly a member of the Brotherhood of Aryan Alliance. He was driving a vehicle that matched a similar description of a dark “boxy” car that was spotted in Clements’ neighborhood in Monument, Colo. at the time of the shooting.

According to Texas police, the suspect led them on a high-speed chase through two counties after being stopped in Montague and seriously wounding a deputy. The chase ended in Decatur, 100 miles outside of Dallas, when his Cadillac was struck by an 18-wheeler. After the suspect exited his car, he continued shooting and was hit by bullets when cops returned fire.

Doctors later said that the suspect was brain dead and is being kept on life support to potentially harvest his organs.

Days before he was shot dead at his home, Clements denied the request of a Saudi national convicted of false imprisonment and sexual assault to serve out the remainder of his prison sentence in Saudi Arabia.

Detectives investigating the murder were also investigating that as a possible lead as the manhunt for the 58-year-old's killer continued on Friday.

Just a week before being gunned down, Clements wrote a letter to convicted Saudi national Homaidan al-Turki, stating that he was denying his request to complete his sentence in his home country.

Al-Turki, whose company Al-Basheer Publications & Translations sold CDs of speeches by Islamic militant Anwar al-Awlaki, had complained during his trial that the prosecution was the result of a government conspiracy. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

In his letter to al-Turki, Clements cited the convict's refusal to participate in sex offender rehabilitation programs due to conflicts with his Islamic faith. As a result, Clements denied the requested transfer to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Turki was convicted in 2006 of the sexual assault of his Indonesian housekeeper. According to an affidavit, al-Turki and his wife kept their housekeeper as a virtual slave, allegedly paying her $2 per day and forcing her to sleep on a mattress in his basement.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar212013

Driver in Texas Shootout Possibly Linked to Colorado Prison Chief Murder

Colorado Dept of Corrections(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- A high speed chase and shootout that spanned two Texas counties and ended with the death of the driver Thursday may be connected to the murder of Colorado's prisons chief earlier this week, police said.

A suspect driving a black Cadillac with Colorado license plates shot at an officer several times during a traffic stop and took off. The suspect continued to fire at pursuing officers while driving at speeds that exceeded 100 mph, police said a news conference.

The suspect, who police have been unable to identify, wasn't stopped until his vehicle slammed into an 18-wheel tractor trailer. He came out of the car with a gun and began firing again at police who cut him down with return fire, police said.

"He wasn't planning on being taken alive. He was planning on hurting somebody," an officer said during the news conference.

Although treated at two hospitals, the suspect was "legally deceased," police said.

Authorities said that Colorado investigators are on their way to Texas to determine whether the suspect is connected to the murder of Colorado prison chief Tom Clements. Clements was killed at his home Tuesday by an unknown assailant.

"Do we suspect it is related [to the Colorado killing]? It may be," Wise County Sheriff David Walker said. "I believe the description of the car in Colorado is a box-style black car" that was identified as possibly a being a Lincoln. "This is a box-style car with Colorado plates."

Police said that the driver of the black Cadillac was pulled over by highway patrol officers in Montague County, Texas, when he began firing on the officer who pulled him over. The officer was hit several times in the chest, but was protected by his vest. He was also grazed in the head.

The injured officer alerted other law enforcement to the driver, who then engaged in a rolling shootout with deputies in his pursuit through Montague and Wise counties.

The suspect was eventually hit by a truck on a Texas highway, when he exited and then continued shooting at sheriff's deputies. He was shot multiple times and taken to a nearby hospital before being airlifted to John Peters Hospital in Fort Worth. Police said the suspect is legally dead but is being kept on life support to possibly harvest his organs.

Authorities tell ABC News they are also looking into whether the suspect may be involved in the killing of a Domino’s pizza driver in Denver.

Authorities say evidence found today in the suspect’s car -- including a Domino’s pizza uniform jacket and a cardboard pizza box -- may link the suspect to the unsolved murder of 27-year-old pizza delivery man Nathan Leon, according to three law enforcement sources who did not want to be identified because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

Leon’s body was found Sunday in a ditch in Golden, Colorado.  A father of three, Leon was shot multiple times.

Detectives investigating Clements' murder seem to have ruled out the possibility that he was a victim of random violence and believe that he was specifically targeted.

"Is it possible this was random? Absolutely," County Undersheriff Paula Presley told ABC News Thursday. "Then again you have to look at what the motive would have been if this was a random shooting. At this point, there's nothing that leads us in that direction."

"It appears at this point in time that Mr. Clements was obviously the target of this homicide," Presley said.

Clements, 58, was shot Tuesday night at his home in an upscale neighborhood in Monument, Colorado.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar212013

Cops Say Colorado Prison Chief Was 'Targeted'

Colorado Dept of Corrections(MONUMENT, Colo.) -- Detectives investigating the murder of Colorado's prisons chief appear to be ruling out the possibility that he was a victim of random violence and believe that he was specifically targeted.

"Is it possible this was random? Absolutely," County Undersheriff Paula Presley told ABC News today. "Then again, you have to look at what the motive would have been if this was a random shooting. At this point, there's nothing that leads us in that direction."

"It appears at this point in time that Mr. Clements was obviously the target of this homicide," Presley said.

Clements, 58, was shot Tuesday night at his home in an upscale neighborhood in Monument, Colorado.

One of the few clues in the case is a dark, "boxy" car that was seen in the neighborhood at about the time of the shooting. One witness said they saw the car parked and running Tuesday night, but nobody was inside. Presley said that at least half a dozen residents in the neighborhood have now come forward to say that they also saw the car, described as possibly a Lincoln or Cadillac.

At least one witness told detectives they may have gotten a look at a suspect.

"One of our witnesses or individuals in that neighborhood stated what they believed to be a white male driving this vehicle but that's all we have, and we can't assume that all of that info is accurate," Presley said. "It's after dark, and the vehicle was in motion at the time."

Investigators are also looking into an ad that Clements apparently posted on Craigslist the same day he was shot, for a used $1,200 mountain bike. According to the website, the ad was posted at 6:11 p.m., just hours before Clements was murdered. Authorities say they are aware of the Craigslist ad, calling it one of many potential leads.

Police are also looking at any potential cases stemming from his job running the state's prisons for a possible motive in his death.

Days before Clements was shot, he had denied the request of a Saudi national convicted in 2006 of false imprisonment and sexual assault to serve his prison sentence in Saudi Arabia. It's not clear if other cases stemming from Clements' job as the state's prison chief are also being eyed by the cops.

Just a week before his murder, Clements wrote a letter on March 11 to convicted Saudi national Homaidan al-Turki, stating that he was denying his request to complete his sentence in his home country. Al-Turki's application to complete his sentence in Saudi Arabia had cleared reviews by prison officials, ABC News affilaite KMGH reported.

Al-Turki, whose company Al-Basheer Publications and Translations sold CDs of speeches by Islamic militant Anwar al-Awlaki, had complained during his trial that the prosecution was the result of a government conspiracy. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

In his letter to al-Turki, Clements cited his refusal to participate in sex offender rehabilitation programs.

"Information provided indicates that you have been given multiple opportunities to be screened by the Sex Offender Treatment and Monitoring Program," Clements wrote to al-Turki dated. "You have reportedly declined based upon religious reasons/conflicts with your Islamic faith.

"I have decided not to support your request for transfer to Saudi Arabia at this time. I would encourage you to reconsider your position regarding participation in required treatment."

Al-Turki was convicted in 2006 of the sexual assault of his Indonesian housekeeper. According to an affidavit, al-Turki and his wife kept their housekeeper as a virtual slave, allegedly paying her $2 per day and forcing her to sleep on a mattress in his basement.

Al-Turki has been serving a 28 year prison sentence in Colorado's Limon Correctional Facility since 2009. In February 2011 Al-Turki's sentence was reduced to eight years to life.

The case attracted international attention throughout his trial, and the conviction was seen across parts of the Muslim world as a result of Islamophobia. Colorado Attorney General John Suther met with Saudi King Abdullah, the Crown Prince and al-Turki's family in 2006 at the request of the U.S. State Department to put the Saudi royal family's concerns at ease over al-Turki's treatment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar202013

Police Seek Possible Witness in Colorado Prison Director's Shooting

Colorado Department of Corrections(DENVER) -- A woman who was seen exercising in the neighborhood around the time that the head of Colorado's prison system was fatally shot in his home could be a key witness in the murder investigation, authorities said Wednesday.

Tom Clements, 58, was shot to death around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Initial reports said the director of the State Department of Corrections had been shot when he answered the door at his Monument, Colo., home, but authorities said Wednesday afternoon that they were unable to confirm the sequence of events or a motive for the shooting.

"Because of the fact Mr. Clements served in the position he did, we're sensitive to the fact there could be any number of people who have a motive," Lt. Jeff Kramer, a spokesman for the El Paso County Sheriff's office, said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

He also said authorities were keeping an open mind and had not yet ruled out whether Clements was the victim of a random shooting.

With few leads to go on, authorities are hoping that a woman who was seen speed-walking in the neighborhood Tuesday night will come forward. She was described by witnesses as being between the ages of 35 and 50 and was dressed in a hat, dark wind-breaker and white pants, Kramer said.

Police canvassed the neighborhood and found a witness who noticed a suspicious vehicle parked one street beyond Clements' home and put the time just before Clements' family called 911 to report the shooting, police said Wednesday.

"The vehicle was observed by this resident parked there, but it was running at the time," Lt. Kramer said. "Two to three minutes later that vehicle was gone. Then, two minutes after that -- we're up to 8:37 p.m. -- that same local resident saw the vehicle traveling westbound."

Kramer said authorities believe the woman who was exercising might have seen the vehicle and that authorities are "eager" to speak with her.

The vehicle, which had its green dashboard lights on while parked, was described as a two door, dark colored, 1990s model similar to a Lincoln.

Officers proceeded Wednesday with in-depth searches of the surrounding area, trying to capitalize on daylight hours, Kramer said.

Police continue going door to door trying to find out what neighbors heard and saw. Additionally, K-9 units were deployed to see whether they could locate anything that might be helpful in the investigation.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper struggled to hold back tears while speaking to reporters Wednesday morning and conceded that little is known about a suspect or motive.

"It's an active investigation. We don't know anything -- or enough -- at this point," he said.

Hickenlooper was scheduled to sign legislation Wednesday that placed new limits on ammunition magazines and expanded background checks for firearms. The new legislation is seen as a response to a string of mass shootings across the country, one of the worst of which was the Aurora, Colo., shooting in July 2012 that left 12 dead and injured 58.

Speaking Wednesday, Hickenlooper reflected on Clements' career and time working within Colorado government. Clements was appointed head of Colorado's Department of Corrections in 2011 by Hickenlooper, after serving 31 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

"We lured Tom away," Hickenlooper said. "He was far and away the best choice we could find in the country. He understood the idea of building a team and operating an enterprise. ... His unfailing good nature would come through in everything he did."

Clements is survived by his wife, Lisa Clements, and his two daughters.

His family released a statement Wednesday afternoon mourning the, "devoted husband and beloved father."

"There are no words at this time to describe our grief and loss," they said. "We thank our friends and those praying for us here and across the nation. Your well-wishes and prayers bring us strength. We appreciate your continued respect for our privacy during this terrible loss."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







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