Evan Ebel removed monitoring bracelet days before murders of Tom Clements and Nate Leon

DENVER - A Colorado parolee removed his monitoring device days before the murders of the Colorado prisons chief and a part-time pizza delivery driver, according to Colorado Department of Corrections records.

Those records, obtained by 7NEWS, show Evan Ebel removed his ankle bracelet on March 14. That's three days before part-time Denver pizza delivery driver Nate Leon was killed on March 17 and five days before Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Tom Clements was killed on March 19.

The DOC typically issues an arrest warrant for a parolee who removes a monitor. In Ebel's case that warrant wasn't issued until March 20 -- after both Clements and Leon had been killed.

Ebel was on intensive supervised parole, which meant not only electronic monitoring, but also daily call-ins, a curfew, and no driving or drinking alcohol.

DOC records show Ebel:

- Completed his daily phone check-in from Jan. 29 to March 14.

- Had two home parole officer visits with no issues (Feb. 5, Feb. 21)

- Had several urine tests that were negative (Jan. 31, Feb. 5, Feb. 27, March 6)

While Ebel made his daily check-in phone call at 7:20 a.m. on March 14, he apparently removed his ankle monitor at 1:54 p.m. that day, according to DOC records.

The records show officials tried to contact Ebel about his "bracelet for repair," but they never reached him.

On March 18, four days later, officials contacted Ebel's family, but the records don't show if they reached his family and what was discussed.

Ebel's home was searched the next day and it was determined that Ebel "was likely an absconder," records say.

The warrant for his arrest was issued on March 20.

Ebel was shot in the head during a gunfight with law enforcement officers in Texas after a high-speed car chase on March 21 and pronounced dead the next day. He had spent nearly eight years in four different Colorado prisons.

Shell casings fired from Ebel's handgun in Texas matched the casings found at Clements' home, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said.

Other evidence found in Ebel's crashed Cadillac Deville included Domino's Pizza clothes and an insulated Domino's pizza carrier that could link Ebel to the murder of Leon on March 17.

--Ebel lived in rental home instead of halfway house--

7NEWS has learned Ebel's father, Jack Ebel, rented a home for his son in Commerce City.

The owner of the home told 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger that Jack Ebel said he wanted to keep his son out of a halfway house. The owner agreed to rent the home to help keep Evan Ebel from living with ex-convicts and to give him a chance to turn his life around.

A Department of Corrections spokeswoman confirmed for 7NEWS that Evan Ebel had a job working at his father's law firm.

According to his parole records, Ebel was allowed out of his home during the following hours:

- Monday-Friday: 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.

- Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

During his curfew hours, Evan Ebel was required to be at his Commerce City home.

7NEWS discovered that his monitoring device was not a Global Positioning System, but rather a radio-frequency device.

He was not tracked 24/7, but only tracked at his home during curfew. If he was not in his home from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the week or from 2 p.m. until 9 a.m. on weekends, his ankle monitor would issue an alert to the monitoring company, BI Incorporated.

It would also issue a tamper alert, if the device was tampered with or cut off.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Alison Morgan said he was not on GPS monitoring because a lack of resources requires GPS tracking devices to only be used on sex offenders.

Morgan said there is currently one parole officer for every 50 parolees in Colorado.

She said there are 1,500 parolees on the same monitoring as Evan Ebel, and that they get 800 alerts each month.

The Department of Corrections is now reviewing its policies and practices, to improve response times in reaction to the Ebel parole monitoring incident.

"All of  these things, any one of them, had they been different, my son would be alive," said John Leon, Nate Leon's father. "I don’t know what their normal process is, but I would hope that this isn’t it and that somebody says we didn’t follow the right process."

John Leon said he has not had any direct contact from officials about the mistakes, and is angry about a statement from Gov. John Hickenlooper's office commending the courts for reviewing their procedures following revelations that Ebel was let out of prison four years too soon.

"Why are they commending them for reviewing the policies after two people have been murdered?" asked John Leon. "They should be condemning the policies or the practices that allowed that to happen." 

 

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