Solitary Confinement 'Ruined' Colorado Gunman

Evan Ebel went 'completely, deadly wrong': lawyer

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 23, 2013 4:43 PM CDT

(Newser) – The suspected killer of Colorado corrections chief Tom Clements had a decent, middle-class upbringing that went downhill after his sister died in a car accident, USA Today reports. Evan Ebel—who died after a gunfight with police—then started getting into trouble in his Denver suburb, committing robberies, pistol-whipping a man for his car, shooting himself twice, and spending several years in solitary confinement in prison. "In my 38 years of being a lawyer, I've never had anyone go so wrong," said his attorney. "So completely, deadly wrong."

Ebel's father testified to the Colorado Legislature in 2011 that solitary confinement was ruining his son's mind. His father's old friend, Gov. John Hickenlooper, mentioned Ebel's case in seeking prison reform, and hired Clements, who curbed the use of solitary confinement. Now investigators are probing Ebel's connection to the 211 Crew, a white supremacist prison group that requires members to perpetrate a bloody attack. If Ebel killed Clements for the 211 Crew, "we will see what will amount to a war," said one analyst. "Law enforcement will come down on this gang like a ton of bricks." (See how hard solitary confinement can be on teenagers.)

This undated photo released by the Colorado Department of Corrections shows paroled inmate Evan Spencer Ebel, 28.
This undated photo released by the Colorado Department of Corrections shows paroled inmate Evan Spencer Ebel, 28.   (AP Photo/Colorado Department of Corrections)
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