Tom Clements Death: Prison Officials Acknowledge Chief’s Death Tied To Solitary Confinement Policies

By Dianne Frazee-Walker

Tom Clements, Chief Executive Director of Colorado Corrections was known by his friends, family, and affiliates as a compassionate man, dedicated to changing how Colorado Corrections deals with violent inmates locked away into solitary confinement for of lengthy periods of time.  Photo courtesy thedenverchannel.com

Clements had strong aspiration to do what it takes to build safe communities in Colorado. He was a visionary who foresaw how creating programs for inmates who are released from solitary confinement to society is connected to lowering recidivism rates, resulting in crime free neighborhoods.

Clements was a former director of operations for Missouri’s twenty-one adult correctional institutions and overall management of 30,500 incarcerated offenders since 2007. He served in statewide leadership roles within the adult probation and parole system and in Missouri’s adult correctional institutions system until he was hired by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in 2010 as Chief Executive Director of Colorado Corrections.  

When Governor Hickenlooper made the decision to hire Clements he announced, “Tom Clements has built a distinguished career working his up through the ranks in the Missouri corrections system.”

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Stevie Vigil Charged

Dianne Frazee-Walker

Stevie Vigil, childhood friend and aspiring plus-size model has been charged for providing the gun Evan Ebel used on March 19 to kill Tom Clements, Colorado Correctional Chief.

22 year-old Stevie Marie Vigil of Commerce City, Colorado was indicted by a grand jury last Friday on one count of knowingly transferring a firearm to a convicted felon.  Stevie Vigil / Photo courtesy canoncitydailyrecord.com 

Vigil is accused of a “straw purchase” of a 9mm Smith & Wesson hand gun for $611.97 cash.  She allegedly handed the gun over to 28-year-old Evan Ebel, a member of the white supremacy gang 211 Crew and convicted felon. Ebel spent most of his adult life serving time in prison for robberies, menacing, weapons charges, and assault on a correctional officer.

Ebel allegedly took the gun and went on a shooting spree, killing Nathan Leon, pizza delivery driver, along with Tom Clements, Chief of Colorado Prisons. Ebel’s life ended in a shoot-out with police in Texas.

Ebel was released from prison in January and placed on parole after a long stretch of solitary confinement with no significant rehabilitation. Five days after his release he cut-off his ankle bracelet. On March 19, Ebel allegedly shot pizza delivery driver, Nathan Leon for his uniform. He drove to Clements’ house in Colorado Springs, knocked on Clements’s door posing as a pizza delivery man. Ebel shot Clements’s point blank in the head when he answered his door.  

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Tom Clements: Did the System Fail? Or Was Failure Built Into the System?

By Dianne Frazee- Walker

Tom Clements was the Colorado Corrections Chief that was gunned down and killed by suspect Evan Ebel, on March 14, 2013. Ebel was the parolee who prompted the Colorado parole director to create a new policy that would reduce the response time for ankle bracelet tampering alerts after he allegedly removed his ankle bracelet and went on a shooting spree, killing Clements and a pizza delivery man, Nathan Leon. Ebel was later killed in a shoot-out with police after fleeing to Texas.  Refer to: http://www.prisonlawblog.com/blog/colorado-cuts-response-time-bracelet-alerts/

One would wonder how Ebel, a convicted felon could acquire a gun. Tom Clements / Image courtesy nydailynews.com

According to Normando Pacheco, Stevie Marie Anne Vigil’ s defense attorney, Vigil, the 22-year old woman accused of purchasing a Smith & Wesson hand gun for Ebel, says she was threatened by Ebel to buy him the gun or else…..

The handgun was purchased March 6 and Tom Clements was shot on March 14.

Vigil is out on $25,000 bail and charged with illegally purchasing a gun and enabling Ebel to obtain a gun. She is scheduled for a four day trial Aug. 12.

Clements would still be alive if it wasn’t for a clerical error and an ineffective bracelet monitoring procedure. Ebel known as “Evil Ebel” in prison was released four years early. Clements was killed five days later.

Before the incident, Evil Ebel spent most of his adult life in prison and much of that time was spent in “the Hole.” He was a member of a White supremacy gang – called 211 – and had the word hateful tattooed all over his body. Ebel had even threatened a female guard with her life while incarcerated.

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