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Suspected killer released 4 years early

April 2, 2013 at 2:01 PM

CENTENNIAL, Colo., April 2 (UPI) -- The man believed to have killed the head of the Colorado prison system would have still been behind bars if he had been properly sentenced, officials say.

A Colorado court apologized Monday for the judicial error that led to Evan Ebel's release in March, The Denver Post reported.

Ebel, who was gunned down by police in Texas on March 21, is suspected of killing Nathan Leon, a pizza delivery driver in Denver, March 17 and Tom Clements, the head of the state Department of Corrections March 19.

Ebel was already serving a prison sentence in Colorado in 2008 when he pleaded guilty to assaulting a guard under an agreement that added four years to his sentence. But the judge failed to specify the new sentence was to be consecutive, allowing Ebel to be released in late January.

"I was sick to the pit of my stomach. I would have preferred a public apology to me and my family," Katie Leon said. "Obviously this was something that could have been prevented. My husband would still be here today. The father of my children would still be here today. Tom Clements would still be here today."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections said that if a judge does not specify whether a sentence is to be consecutive or concurrent prisons must automatically assume it is concurrent.

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