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Widow of slain prisons chief asks Beauprez to leave tragedy out of gubernatorial fight

October 24, 2014 Updated: October 24, 2014 at 12:12 pm
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The widow of slain prisons chief Tom Clements asked gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez to stop using her family's tragic loss for personal and political gain.

"We're requesting you to please stop referencing our tragedy in your debate statements and in your campaign ads," Lisa Clements wrote in an email sent to the media. "Because every time you do, you re-open the wounds that our family continues to suffer from. We have not asked you to defend or publicize our experience, and we are not interested in accepting the support of anyone who chooses to do so with the expectation of something in return."

Tom Clements was a member of Gov. John Hickenlooper's cabinet and was overseeing the Department of Corrections when a recently released convict went to Clements' house dressed as the pizza delivery man he had killed earlier and shot Clements in the doorway of his Monument-area home.

Beauprez has used the March 2013 shootings as an example of the failings in the Department of Corrections he would rectify if he is elected governor Nov. 4.

"I, and I am sure all Coloradans, grieve for the families of all victims of violent parolees," Beauprez said in a statement Thursday in response to Lisa Clements. "I will remain focused on bringing public safety reform to Colorado that will make our communities safer. The truth is Evan Ebel should not have been released. That was the first critical mistake. Failure to find and resolve the court sentencing error is inexcusable."

An ad that features chirping crickets and the front porch of a house at night was released this week by Beauprez.

"Under John Hickenlooper, violent criminal Evan Ebel was released from prison and brutally killed two Coloradans," reads text over the top of the house. "With John Hickenlooper as governor . is your family safe?"

Beauprez said Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 176 in 2011 that allowed inmates to earn time toward their early release even while in solitary confinement if the inmate has been segregated for more than 90 days.

Ebel was released early due to a clerical failure to add time to his sentence for crimes committed while in prison.

"Mr. Beauprez, it is with great sadness and frustration that I am breaking my silence on matters involving the death of my husband," Lisa Clements wrote. "On several occasions this year, you have attempted to use our family's tragic loss for your personal and political gain, and we are respectfully asking you to stop."

In a recent debate in Pueblo, Beauprez avoided answering a question about reproductive rights by turning around and asking Hickenlooper what he would say to women who are widows because of inmates released from prison direct from solitary confinement.

Hickenlooper called the clear reference to Tom Clements reprehensible in response.

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Contact Megan Schrader: 286-0644

Twitter @CapitolSchrader

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