DENVER - Charges against alleged co-conspirators in the 2013 murder of prisons chief Tom Clements were rejected for lack of sufficient evidence, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday but the El Paso County District Attorney's Office later said it was never asked to file charges.
As first reported by our partners at The Denver Post, and confirmed by Lt. Jeff Kramer, the sheriff's office said it had met with members of District Attorney Dan May's office over the past year to request charges be filed against the alleged co-conspirators, who have not been named publicly.
However, on Tuesday evening, the El Paso County District Attorney's Office issued a statement that said it had never been approached by the sheriff's office:
El Paso County District Attorney's Statement
While it is the policy of this office to decline to comment on open and pending investigations, it is imperative that we respond to recent comments made by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
It is untrue that anyone from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has asked this office to file criminal charges in the death of Tom Clements. Written reports are always submitted when requesting the filing of charges. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has not presented any such reports to the District Attorney’s Office.
From March 19, 2013, we have had a team of experienced prosecutors, including District Attorney Dan May, committed to this investigation. As a part of this commitment, the District Attorney’s Office has repeatedly requested reports from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in order that we may be advised of any progress made in their investigation. Again, no reports have ever been provided.
The motivation behind the recent allegations made by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office remains a mystery.
While authorities believe Evan Ebel is the person who shot and killed Clements, the Department of Corrections and the sheriff's office are continuing to investigate whether he acted alone.
While charges have not been filed against anyone else, Kramer said the El Paso County sheriff's office and DOC investigators will continue to look for evidence that connects other people to the high-profile assassination of the DOC Director.
Clements was shot and killed on March 19, 2013 while answering the door at his Monument home. Two days earlier, on March 17, Nate Leon was gunned down by the same shooter while working his second job as a pizza delivery driver.
Investigators have said Ebel killed Leon to get his Domino's delivery uniform, which Ebel used as a disguise to get Clements to open the front door.
On March 21, 2013 Ebel was involved in a chase and shootout in North Texas where he was shot and killed.
In a search of Ebel's car afterward, officers found a "hit list" that had Clements' name as well as the names of Tim Hand, the state Parole Chief, and two other corrections employees.
"Evan Ebel killed Clements and (Leon), but there were a lot of other people who had their fingerprints all over this," Hand told the Denver Post last June. "This is big time. This is a bunch of 211 Crew members who were doing this. It wasn’t Ebel working alone."
Investigators say Ebel was a member of the white supremacist prison gang 211 Crew. Letters from other 211 crew members included additional names of potential targets, Hand had said.
Hand was placed on paid leave and then eventually fired by the DOC after the CALL7 Investigators found gaps in the parole division's response when Ebel cut his ankle bracelet and went on a multi-state rampage.
According to DOC documents, Ebel cut off his ankle monitor and his parole officer didn’t check in on him for six days. By then, Leon and Clements were dead.
Following Ebel's parole in January, he was in frequent contact with 211 Crew members, according to cellphone records, the Denver Post reported. Authorities believe gang members gave him money to buy a car, got him his mismatched license plates and helped arrange the pizza theft in which Ebel shot Leon, a source told the newspaper. Investigators believe gang members steered him to Clements' home and arranged for him to stay at a "safe house" in Colorado Springs after the shooting. When he set out for Texas, Ebel was likely driving to the home of a paroled 211 Crew member, investigators told the newspaper.