DENVER - Gov. John Hickenlooper has ordered Colorado's Department of Corrections to audit the records of all inmates after the revelation that multiple murder suspect Evan Ebel was paroled four years early.
In 2008, Ebel pleaded guilty to punching a prison guard and, according to that deal, was supposed to serve four additional years behind bars. The judge, however, never said the sentence was consecutive in court, and a clerk never put that on paperwork given to the DOC.
As a result, Ebel was allowed to serve his time simultaneously and released in January.
In March, Ebel was killed during a gunfight in Texas just days after the Colorado murders of Tom Clements and delivery driver Nate Leon. Shell casings and Domino's Pizza clothing found after the shootout linked Ebel to both murders.
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. According to the DOC, that program is for high-risk or high-needs offenders who "present increased risk for the community."
DOC records show Ebel made his scheduled call-in on the morning of March 14, but his ankle monitor indicated a tamper alert that afternoon.
The Department of Correction uses a variety of ankle monitor types provided by BI, Incorporated. According to data that company provided to the DOC, there were 98 tamper alerts on devices worn by paroled offenders during March. That number excludes alerts caused by scheduled maintenance.
The records show officials tried to contact Ebel about his "bracelet for repair," but they never reached him. Four days later, officials contacted his family and authorities searched his home the next day.
An arrest warrant wasn't issued until March 20, after both Leon and Clements had already been killed.
As part of the review ordered by the governor and inspired by the Ebel case, the DOC said Thursday that thousands of concurrent, or simultaneous, sentences will be reviewed to ensure they aren't supposed to be consecutive.
"The DOC will prioritize the review of cases with the greatest level of risk, going back 10 years and reviewing required consecutive sentencing," Hickenlooper said in a written statement about his order.
The National Institute of Corrections also will conduct a review of all of the department's parole operations.