DENVER - Bob Beauprez is removing a reference to the murder of DOC boss Tom Clements from an ad campaign after Clements' widow, Lisa Clements, issued a public letter asking him to stop referencing her family.
In the wake of the violent crime, families of both murder victims were critical of the investigation of the case and the lack of information being shared with them.
Beauprez mentioned the case in a new campaign ad, saying that the killer was released from prison under Governor John Hickenlooper's administration. The ad, which also mentioned other cases of released prisoners who made alleged threats, questioned the safety of Colorado' families under Hickenlooper's leadership.
The ad is paid for by Beauprez's campaign.
Beauprez also held a press conference Thursday afternoon about public safety, following his debate with Hickenlooper.
Lisa Clements, who works for Hickenlooper running mental health programs in the Colorado Department of Human Services, sent this public letter in response to Beauprez:
"Mr. Beauprez, it is with great sadness and frustration that I am breaking my silence on matters involving the death of my husband. On several occasions this year, you have attempted to use our family’s tragic loss for your personal and political gain, and we are respectfully asking you to stop. We’re requesting you to please stop referencing our tragedy in your debate statements and in your campaign ads. Because every time you do, you re-open the wounds that our family continues to suffer from. We have not asked you to defend or publicize our experience, and we are not interested in accepting the support of anyone who chooses to do so with the expectation of something in return."
Hickenlooper appointed Tom Clements to Executive Director of the Department of Corrections on January 10, 2011.
According to the state's database that tracks campaign contributions, Lisa Clements has contributed $100 to the Hickenlooper gubernatorial campaign on two different occasions this year.
$100 on January 28, 2014
$100 on March 28, 2014
Beauprez's campaign stressed to 7NEWS that he has not used Clements' name while referring to public safety issues.
At 5:07 p.m., the Beauprez campaign spokesman sent 7NEWS the following statement:
"I, and I am sure all Coloradans, grieve for the families of all victims of violent parolees. I will remain focused on bringing public safety reform to Colorado that will make our communities safer.
The truth is Evan Ebel should not have been released. That was the first critical mistake. Failure to find and resolve the court sentencing error is inexcusable.
John Hickenlooper signed legislation that allowed prisoners like Evan Ebel to earn time towards release even while in solitary confinement. When legislation was introduced this year to fix this problem, the governor failed to support it and the bill died.
The governor also failed to provide resources to the Division of Parole so that we can have more confidence that those on parole are less likely to commit new crimes and that dangerous fugitives are immediately sought after and apprehended.
I am running for governor to do everything in my power to ensure these tragedies do not happen to more Colorado families."
Then, just before 10 p.m., Beauprez's campaign sent another statement:
"While it is a legitimate issue to raise concerns about the administration's failure to reform parole, out of respect to the spouse of a victim of parolee violence, we have removed that specific line from our ad.
In its place we are pressing John Hickenlooper on another outrageous failure: advocating for what has been referred to as unsupervised "leisure time" -- together -- for death row inmates.
From a March, 2014 email from Department of Corrections Deputy Executive Director Kellie Wasko:
“We allow offenders with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole to walk around our medium and close custody facilities, who pose no different risk than those with sentences of the death penalty. So are we really managing those offenders whose sentence is different — however, the same — effectively and equally? We believe that we can do better!
“[W]e decided that while they are out in the dayhalls, and we are assessing how this will work, we would consider this dayhall a ‘NO STAFF ZONE’ at this time. So that means that while the offenders are out in their dayhall for their out-of-cell time, staff will not enter into that dayhall for any reason while we assess how this will work for our organization."