EMOTIONAL INTERVIEW: Family of Nathan Leon Outraged After Authorities Admit Killer Was Mistakenly Released From Prison
A Colorado court has made a shocking admission, announcing that the main suspect in the murder of prison chief Tom Clements was released from prison four years early because of a clerical error. Evan Ebel was supposed to remain in prison until at least 2017, but he was freed in January. He is also suspected in the murder of 27-year-old pizza deliveryman Nathan Leon, whose widow and mother-in-law joined Shepard Smith on Studio B this afternoon.
Here's more background on the situation from Associated Press:
In 2008, Ebel pleaded guilty in rural Fremont County to assaulting a prison officer. In the plea deal, Ebel was to be sentenced to up to four additional years in prison, to be served after he completed the eight-year sentence that put him behind bars in 2005, according to a statement from Colorado's 11th Judicial District.
However, the judge did not say the sentence was meant to be "consecutive," or in addition to, Ebel's current one. So the court clerk recorded it as one to be served "concurrently," or at the same time. That's the information that went to the state prisons, the statement said.
So on Jan. 28, prisons officials saw that Ebel had finished his court-ordered sentence and released him. They said they had no way of knowing the plea deal was intended to keep Ebel behind bars for years longer.
Two months later, Ebel was dead after a shootout with authorities in Texas. The gun he used in the March 21 gunbattle was the same one used to shoot and kill prisons chief Tom Clements two days earlier. Police believe Ebel also was involved in the death of a Domino's Pizza delivery man, Nathan Leon, in Denver.
Katie Leon said her husband had a job with IBM five days a week and delivered pizzas for Domino's on Sundays to earn extra money to support her and their three young daughters.
"He was a hardworking, loving man. He would have worked 10 jobs for me and his children. ... He was the sole provider for our family and now he's gone," she said.
Leon said she hasn't heard from authorities since they learned that Ebel should have still been in prison on March 17, the day he allegedly shot her husband after he arrived to make a delivery in northeast Denver. She said all she has received is a two-line letter of condolence.
"It was an empty apology. It meant nothing. ... I had hoped for a public apology, obviously I didn't get one, but I did let them know how outraged I was that this was something that was just a clerical error that was overlooked. A sorry is not going to bring my children's father back," said Leon.
Watch the emotional interview: