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Suspect linked to Colorado murders

By Brandon Evans | Published Saturday, March 23, 2013

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UNDER FIRE - John St. Augustine, a inspector with El Paso County Sheriff's Office, answers questions at a press conference in the Decatur Civic Center Friday at noon. Many speculate Evan S. Ebel was connected to two murders that took place earlier this week in Colorado, including that of a pizza delivery driver and the director of Colorado's Department of Correction. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

UNDER FIRE – John St. Augustine, a inspector with El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, answers questions at a press conference in the Decatur Civic Center Friday at noon. Many speculate Evan S. Ebel was connected to two murders that took place earlier this week in Colorado, including that of a pizza delivery driver and the director of Colorado’s Department of Correction. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The suspect who created a line of havoc between Bowie and Decatur Thursday may be linked to a pair of murders in Colorado earlier this week.

Evan S. Ebel

Evan S. Ebel

Investigators with El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and FBI agents from Colorado descended on Wise County Thursday night looking into a possible connection between Evan S. Ebel, 28, and the murder of two men in Colorado – Tom Clements, 58, the chief director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, and Nate Leon, a 27-year-old part-time pizza delivery driver.

Clements was murdered in front of his home Tuesday night. Leon was found murdered Sunday in Denver.

Ebel was shot in the head by a Wise County deputy in Decatur late Thursday morning at the end of a high-speed pursuit that started in Bowie. He died the following day in a Fort Worth hospital.

“There is an autopsy going on at Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office,” Wise County Sheriff David Walker said. “It is expected to take several days to complete.”

Tom Clements

Tom Clements

Steve Johnson, assistant director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, said the black Cadillac with Colorado plates driven by Ebel matched the description of a vehicle witnesses saw in the Monument, Colo., neighborhood at the time Clements was shot and killed. The vehicle also matched the type of vehicle driven by Leon before he was found murdered. The black Cadillac driven by Ebel had two different sets of license plates on it. Johnson declined to comment further.

Ebel, a Colorado parolee, was allegedly a member of a white supremacist prison gang known as the 211s. The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization based in Montgomery, Ala., that keeps track of hate crimes and groups, reports that the 211s are a Colorado-based prison gang formed mainly to protect each other in prison.

Ebel grew up in the small Colorado town of Wheat Ridge and spent most of his adult life in Colorado prisons. He was convicted of his first felony robbery at age 19, and was convicted of another robbery a year later, followed by a felony assault conviction and an assault on a prison guard in 2008. He spent most of the last five years in solitary confinement.

His father, Jack Ebel, is an oil and gas lawyer in Denver.

The Denver Post reported Friday that a Domino’s pizza bag had been discovered in the Cadillac being driven by Ebel. However, the FBI, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and Wise County Sheriff’s office all declined to comment on any items found inside the vehicle. An Associated Press report released Friday said shell casings found in Wise County matched the make and caliber of those found outside the home of Clements.

“This is still an active and open investigation,” said Inspector John St. Augustine with El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado. “Over the last 60 hours our deputies and investigators have been working around the clock looking into leads in the murder of our director of department of corrections Tom Clements.

“We can’t talk about specifics of what evidence has been found because this is an ongoing investigation.”

He thanked Walker “for allowing us to come down from Colorado and working with us and letting us shadow them.”

Johnson echoed the sentiment.

“This is a strong community with an outstanding sheriff’s office,” he said.

FULL COURT PRESS - Steve Johnson, assistant director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, addresses a panel of journalists at a press conference Friday at the Decatur Civic Center. Messenger photo by Andrew May

FULL COURT PRESS – Steve Johnson, assistant director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, addresses a panel of journalists at a press conference Friday at the Decatur Civic Center. Messenger photo by Andrew May

Wise County Sheriff’s Department Press Conference, Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.:

Wise County Sheriff’s Department Press Conference, Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 4:30 p.m.:

Wise County Sheriff’s Department Press Conference, Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12 p.m.

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