El Paso County DA disputes Sheriff's Office account of Clements' investigation

By: Lisa Walton, lisa.walton@gazette.com
June 3, 2014 Updated: June 4, 2014 at 1:14 pm
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District Attorney Dan May talks to reporters in this 2012 file photo. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

The District Attorney's Office on Tuesday firmly denied recent statements made by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office alleging that prosecutors declined to file charges against suspected co-conspirators in the March 2013 murder of Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements.

"We don't want people thinking the sheriff has asked us to file conspiracy charges when that has not occurred," 4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May said.

Reports about the charges surfaced Tuesday, when El Paso County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Jeff Kramer was quoted in The Denver Post saying it was "our belief from the beginning that Evan Ebel didn't do this alone. We thought others were involved." He said that the Sheriff's Office asked prosecutors to file charges against alleged co-conspirators.

According to the Denver Post, Kramer said sheriff's investigators had met with members of May's office seeking charges against the unnamed co-conspirators. Kramer declined to provide additional details to the Denver Post about the alleged co-conspirators or their role in the murder.

"During those conversations, the DA's Office stated they did not believe there was enough evidence to pursue charges," Kramer said in a follow-up e-mail to the Denver Post. "The Sheriff's Office continues to work this case in collaboration with DOC (the state Department of Corrections) in an effort to compile additional evidence."

Written reports are always submitted when requesting the filing of charges, the District Attorney's office said, but according to May and a DA's spokeswoman, they have not received such a report, or even a written report about the status of the case.

"We have not gotten any written reports, nor have we been asked to file charges against anybody," said May.

In a statement Tuesday, the District Attorney's Office said that it had repeatedly requested reports from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

"While it is the policy of this office to decline to comment on open and pending investigations, it is imperative that we respond to recent comments made by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office," Lee Richards, a spokeswoman for the office wrote in an email to The Gazette on Tuesday.

"From March 19, 2013, we have had a team of experienced prosecutors, including District Attorney Dan May, committed to this investigation. As a part of this commitment, the District Attorney's Office has repeatedly requested reports from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office in order that we may be advised of any progress made in their investigation. Again, no reports have ever been provided," Richards wrote. "The motivation behind the recent allegations made by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office remains a mystery."

While several agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, the Department of Correction and the U.S. Attorney's office have provided his office with written updates about the investigation, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, as the lead investigative agency, had yet to provide him with one, May said.

"On any homicide case, or high-profile case, we work very closely with the agency in charge of the investigation. Typically we agree on the way a case is to be handled," said May. "If there were a difference in opinion we would have expressed that, but that's not the case here."

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

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