Woman who gave Evan Ebel gun used in 3 shootings gets 27 months

DENVER - The woman accused of giving Evan Ebel the gun used to kill two people in Colorado was sentenced Monday to 27 months in prison.

Stevie Marie Anne Vigil, 22, of Commerce City, was convicted of knowingly transferring a firearm to a convicted felon.

Ebel shot and killed a young father of three, Nate Leon on March 17, then gunned down Colorado prison chief Tom Clements at his Monument home.

Judge Christine Arguello said there was no proof that Vigil knew what Ebel planned to do with the gun.

“We’re very disappointed,” said John Leon, Nathan’s father. “The Judge and I disagree. I could not see how Stevie Vigil would not know what would happen.”

After the shootings in Colorado, Ebel drove to Texas and was involved in a high-speed chase and shootout with numerous Texas police agencies.

In court Monday, Deputy James Boyd from Cooke County Texas testified about the gunfight.

Boyd said he attempted to pull over the black Cadillac that Ebel was driving because he was in the fast lane, but not passing anyone.

Dashcam video played in court showed Boyd approaching the passenger window. You can see Boyd get blown back as Ebel fired multiple shots and sped off.

Boyd testified that he was shot in the chest, shoulder and head, and blacked out on the shoulder of the highway.

Several other cars drove by before another law enforcement officer spotted Boyd and stopped.

Other officers picked up the chase -- at speeds up to 120 mph.

In dashcam video from another police car you can hear officers say, "He's reloading right now."

A little later, the Cadillac started smoking and you can hear an officer say it may have blown a tire.

That's when the Cadillac crashed into a truck and officers rushed in with guns drawn.

"Shots fired, he's down," an officer can be heard saying. Ebel was killed in the shootout.

Boyd testified that the shooting left him partially deaf in his right ear, which has caused problems with his balance.  Boyd also said he has lost his ability to smell alcohol and marijuana - and just about anything else, other than citrus. Boyd also said he experiences anxiety, especially during traffic stops.

Vigil wrote Boyd a letter saying she had no idea what Ebel was going to do with the gun, Boyd testified.

"There was no good giving a convicted felon with a violent past a gun," Boyd said in court.

She should be held just as accountable as the person who pulled the trigger, Boyd said.

ATF Supervising Special Agent Jeffrey Russell testified that in the letter, Vigil claimed the gun was stolen, and said she kept it in the car but didn't check on it for two weeks.

“She never admitted that she gave the gun to Evan Ebel,” he said. “She claimed the firearm was for her own protection, that she had been raped.”

Russell also testified that Vigil sent text messages and placed phone calls to a friend, asking the friend to lie about Vigil's involvement in providing the gun to Ebel.

During Vigil’s sentencing hearing, John Leon talked about his late son.

He called Nathan an amazing, kind person.

"He never raised his voice to me as a teenager," Leon said. "He was killed for his pizza delivery uniform and a pizza box."

Leon said Nathan was a computer programmer who worked part time at a second job to earn money for his family.

“My world ended,” he said, “when Nate was shot.  I’ve not had a decent night’s sleep since it happened.”

Leon said the loss has strained relationships with other family members.

"There used to be good days. Now there are just bad days and worse days," he said.

Nathan's mother, Cynthia Jones, told the court that she has been dealing with depression and sleep issues since the death of her son.

"Nathan was always selfless, gentle, respectful," Jones said.  "As a kid he stood up for kids who were being teased."

As for Vigil's involvement, Jones said, "Anyone who would align herself with someone who is known to be violent would have the same kind of values."

But Jones said she is not focused on what happens to Vigil.

"I'm more concerned with protecting the public than punishment," Jones said.

Nathan’s mother-in-law, Bernadette Almes, says Nathan was a good father.

“He’d come home and say ‘hey ladies, and the three girls would come running.  They knew that play time was about to begin.’”

Almes read a letter from her daughter, Katy, who was unable to testify at the sentencing hearing.

In that letter, Katy wrote, “It leaves you questioning why.”

She also read a quote about the one year ‘angel-versary’ of what happened.

“That’s the year my husband became an angel,” Katy wrote. “The girls are in counseling and have abandonment issues.”

In closing arguments, the prosecutor, Richard Hosley, told the court, “She put a murder weapon in the hands of a murderer.”

He said Vigil “was so devastated” by what Ebel did with the gun she gave him that she went “to a rock concert in Grand Junction.”

Defense attorney Daniel Smith said prosecutors did not provide any evidence to show that Stevie Vigil knew what Evan Ebel was going to do with the gun.

In the end, the Judge sided with the defense.

“The court gave us the sentence we asked for,” Smith said. “We’re pleased with that. It’s certainly a lot better than what the government wanted.”

Smith called Ebel and evil person and said that “Ebel had a plan and was going to carry it out.”

“We asked to be sentenced on the crime that Miss Vigil committed, not on the crimes that Mr. Ebel committed.

Arguello said Ebel was a bright man who was also a sociopath, “just like Ted Bundy.”

“He never confided to anyone about his long-standing plan,” she said. “Miss Vigil knew she was not supposed to provide the gun and must be punished for the crime.”

But Arguello said there was not enough evidence to support a lengthier sentence.

She sentenced Vigil to 27 months in prison, plus three years of supervisory release.

John Leon shook his head in disbelief.

“You give a gun to a known violent person and say you ‘didn’t know what he was going to do,’ that’s beyond reasonableness,” Leon said.

Nate’s father told 7NEWS that as the family approaches the one year anniversary of Nate’s death, “it doesn’t get any easier.”

“I cry to this day,” he said. “We all do. We have what I call our ‘Nathan moments’ where we just need quiet and we just need calm, to get us through the rest of the day.”

Leon said the worst part of the ordeal is knowing that it can happen again to someone else.

“He was just delivering pizzas when this happened to him,” Leon said. “So, I would just ask everybody, if you have kids and loved ones, make sure you give them an extra hug, an extra kiss, because this could happen to anybody.”

Previous stories: 

Feds charge Stevie Vigil for giving gun to Evan Ebel, gun used in shooting death of Tom Clements: http://ch7ne.ws/14dCvCl

Dash cam video shows Evan Ebel shoot Texas deputy: http://ch7ne.ws/14UKyq6

Print this article Back to Top