A suspect in the killing of the state's prison chief fantasized about torturing and killing prison staff in a letter referenced by prosecutors during his botched 2008 sentencing that resulted in his early release from prison.
A judge considered the violent letter and requests for leniency in the sentencing for Evan Ebel, who had pleaded guilty to punching a prison guard -- but the judge's sentencing decision was not properly enforced because of a paperwork error.
The letter, confiscated in November of 2006, was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. They report Ebel wrote that fantasies of killing and torturing prison staff kept him sane during his incarceration.
According to a transcript, the letter was submitted as an exhibit by Deputy District Attorney Bryan Hunt during the sentencing.
Hunt called the letter "almost proof positive that in all this time, after all these cases, he hasn't changed his mind in any way."
Hunt went on to explain that he capped the plea deal offer for the assault case at four years.
Ebel, on the other hand, requested a lighter sentence during the hearing.
"You don’t think applying physical force to me was punishment enough?" Ebel asked the judge.
"You get out in the real world, you’re going to have people telling you what to do all the time and you might have people who use physical force to tell you what to do," the judge responded.
Ebel agreed what he did wasn’t justified, but said he felt the four years was "a little stiff."
He said, "By the time I get out, I’ll be 33."
The judge told Ebel four years was the minimum sentence, and that he could have received 12 years.
During the hearing, Jack Ebel, Evan’s father, also pleaded with the court to be easy on his son.
"My purpose is just to, maybe, shed some light on his character, more than you get from seeing him in a jumpsuit and here in court," Jack Ebel, an attorney, told the court.
Jack Ebel talked about the loss of his daughter, Miranda, who died in a traffic accident almost 5 years earlier and how that had affected him and Evan.
Jack Ebel told the court he visits Evan every two weeks and chooses to support him financially and emotionally.
"He’s got a good soul," he told the judge. "I think he can change his life as he gets older and he matures."
Under the terms of the deal, Ebel was supposed to serve the four years consecutively -- meaning after his existing prison sentence was completed.
The only time during the sentencing hearing where the word consecutive is used is during the testimony of the district attorney, but that order never made it onto the document given to the Department of Corrections.
Because it wasn’t specified in the order, the DOC said, the law dictates it was to be served simultaneously (or concurrently) with his previous sentence.
On Monday, Chief Judge Charles Barton sent his condolences to the families of Clements and Leon after saying a court "error" allowed Ebel out of prison four years to early.