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Strange Twist in the Clements Murder Case

Sus­pect Evan Spencer Ebel

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COMMENT: Pter­rafractyl has not­ed in a com­ment that the chief sus­pect in the mur­der of Col­orado Cor­rec­tions chief Tom Clements was affil­i­at­ed with white-suprema­cist prison gangs, accord­ing to author­i­ties. 

In turn, we have respond­ed that, if true, this rais­es more ques­tions than it answers.

Now, it turns out that the Gov­er­nor of Col­orado is close friends with the sus­pec­t’s father, with whom he worked at an oil com­pa­ny. Gov­er­nor Hick­en­loop­er says that he men­tioned the younger Ebel to Clements when he inter­viewed for the job.

The sus­pec­t’s father had con­tributed to Hick­en­loop­er’s elec­tion cam­paign.

This super­fi­cial­ly reminds us of the case of John Hinck­ley, the neo-Nazi who was con­vict­ed of shoot­ing Ronald Rea­gan and whose fam­i­ly were close to George H.W. Bush, as well as being in the ener­gy busi­ness.

“Gov. Hick­en­loop­er Friends with Father of Dead White Suprema­cist” by Jere­my Mey­er; Den­ver Post; 3/22/2013.

EXCERPT: Col­orado Gov. John Hick­en­loop­er said Fri­day he is close friends with the father of the white suprema­cist who is the focus of the inves­ti­ga­tion into the killing of one of his cab­i­net mem­bers and of a piz­za deliv­ery man.

But the gov­er­nor vehe­ment­ly denied he had any­thing to do with the release of parolee Evan Ebel from prison ear­li­er this year. Ebel was killed Thurs­day after a chase and shootout with Texas author­i­ties.

Ebel’s father, Jack, is an attor­ney who lives in Boul­der. Hick­en­loop­er said he has known Jack Ebel for years. They worked togeth­er at an oil com­pa­ny when Hick­en­loop­er was a geol­o­gist, and they have stayed close.

He also said he knew that Ebel’s son was in prison and that the fam­i­ly had been upset that he had spent a large amount of time in soli­tary con­fine­ment. . . .

. . . .He did say he men­tioned the younger Ebel to Clements. . . .

. . . . Hick­en­loop­er said when he inter­viewed Clements for the direc­tor job he did men­tion that he knew some­one whose child was in admin­is­tra­tive seg­re­ga­tion. . . .

. . . . Jack Ebel did donate to Hick­en­loop­er’s cam­paign for gov­er­nor. . . .

Discussion

13 comments for “Strange Twist in the Clements Murder Case”

  1. Here’s anoth­er strange twist in terms of the motive for Ebel tar­get­ing Clements: Ebel has the poten­tial to become a sort of White Suprema­cist Willie Hor­ton for John Hick­en­loop­er, a ris­ing star in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty. Clements was­n’t work­ing for the Col­orado prison sys­tem unti l2011. Ebel had already spent years in soli­tary con­fine­ment and his father, Jack, had tes­ti­fied before the Col­orado Leg­is­la­ture that the soli­tary con­fine­ment was destroy­ing his son’s mind. Dur­ing Clements’s inter­view for the job, Hick­en­loop­er specif­i­cal­ly brought up the case of Evan Ebel’s years in soli­tary con­fine­ment as an exam­ple of the need to for reform of the soli­tary con­fine­ment sys­tem. And after he took the job, Clements eased the rules and also made it eas­i­er to re-enter soci­ety. Ebel was released on parole in Jan­u­ary. That all makes Clements a rather unusu­al tar­get for a revenge killing:

    The Dai­ly Mail

    Did soli­tary con­fine­ment turn an afflu­ent attor­ney’s son into ‘white suprema­cist gun­man ‘Evil Evan?”

    Evan Ebel is a known mem­ber of ‘211 Crew,’ a Col­orado prison gang respon­si­ble for at least one hate-crime mur­der of an African immi­grant
    Father Jack Ebel tes­ti­fied before Col­orado Leg­is­la­ture that soli­tary con­fine­ment was destroy­ing his son’s psy­che
    Had the word ‘hope­less’ tat­tooed on his body and signed his name ‘Evil Evan’
    Ebel’s black Cadil­lac match­es the descrip­tion of a car seen flee­ing the home of Col­orado pris­ons direc­tor Tom Clements after he was shot dead
    Detec­tives also inves­ti­gat­ing con­nec­tion to the mur­der of a piz­za deliv­ery dri­ver Nathan Leon, 27, in Den­ver on Sun­day
    Ebel shot and wound­ed a sher­if­f’s deputy who pulled him over in north Texas this morn­ing
    Spent shell cas­ings found at the scene of the Texas shootout appear to match those at Clements’ home
    Ebel had vio­lat­ed pro­ba­tion and shot him­self twice in 2004

    By Michael Zen­nie and Dai­ly Mail Reporter

    PUBLISHED: 02:59 GMT, 23 March 2013 | UPDATED: 11:41 GMT, 23 March 2013

    Is it pos­si­ble that years of soli­tary con­fine­ment in a Col­orado prison turned the son of a well-liked and wealthy oil and gas attor­ney in a white-suprema­cist and cold-blood­ed killer?

    Attor­ney Jack Ebel tes­ti­fied before the Col­orado Leg­is­la­ture two years ago that soli­tary con­fine­ment in a Col­orado prison was destroy­ing the psy­che of his son Evan.

    When Jack Ebel’s long­time friend, Gov. John Hick­en­loop­er, was inter­view­ing a Mis­souri cor­rec­tions offi­cial for the top pris­ons job in Col­orado, he men­tioned the case as an exam­ple of why the prison sys­tem need­ed reform.

    And once Tom Clements came to Col­orado, he eased the use of soli­tary con­fine­ment and tried to make it eas­i­er for peo­ple housed there to re-enter soci­ety.

    Now author­i­ties are inves­ti­gat­ing whether Evan Spencer Ebel, who was paroled in Jan­u­ary, is linked to the assas­si­na­tion of Clements, who was shot and killed Tues­day night when he answered the front door of his house in a rur­al neigh­bor­hood.

    The bul­let cas­ings from that shoot­ing are the same type as those found at the site of a bloody gun bat­tle Thurs­day between Evan Ebel and Texas law enforce­ment offi­cers that end­ed with Ebel being shot and killed, accord­ing to court records.

    The car Ebel drove matched the descrip­tion of the one spot­ted out­side Clements’ house on the night of the prison direc­tor’s death.

    Author­i­ties also found a Domi­no’s piz­za deliv­ery box in the trunk and a jack­et or shirt from the piz­za chain. Den­ver police say Ebel is now a sus­pect in the Sun­day slay­ing of piz­za deliv­ery man Nathan Leon.

    Hick­en­loop­er con­firmed his rela­tion­ship with Jack Ebel to The Den­ver Post and KUSA-TV Fri­day evening, and state records show Ebel donat­ed $1,050 to the gov­er­nor’s 2010 cam­paign. But there’s no indi­ca­tion that Hick­en­loop­er’s rela­tion­ship with the Ebels played a role in the shoot­ing.

    Hick­en­loop­er denied that he had any role in Evan Ebel’s parole.

    State pris­ons spokes­woman Ali­son Mor­gan said Ebel was paroled Jan. 28 as part of a manda­to­ry process after serv­ing his full prison term. He had most recent­ly been sen­tenced to four years for punch­ing a prison guard in 2008, accord­ing to state records.

    Hick­en­loop­er said he nev­er men­tioned Ebel’s name to Clements or any­one else con­nect­ed with the pris­ons sys­tem. He said he only heard about the role of his friend’s son Thurs­day night.

    ‘I did­n’t know Evan was out,’ said the gov­er­nor, adding that he called Jack Ebel after being told of the con­nec­tion. ‘He was dis­traught, he was dev­as­tat­ed. I’ve nev­er heard him so upset, and he’s had some hard things in his life.’

    Lt. Jeff Kramer of the El Paso Coun­ty sher­if­f’s office said Fri­day evening that he was unaware of the rela­tion­ship between Hick­en­loop­er and Ebel’s father.

    Jack Ebel did not return mul­ti­ple phone calls seek­ing com­ment.

    ...

    Gov. John Hick­en­loop­er was red-eyed and somber Wednes­day at a news con­fer­ence in which he said he does­n’t think the killing was part of any larg­er attack against his cab­i­net.

    ‘Tom Clements ded­i­cat­ed his life to being a pub­lic ser­vant, to mak­ing our state bet­ter, to mak­ing the wold a bet­ter place. And he is going to be deeply, deeply missed.

    ‘His unfail­ing good nature would come through in every­thing that he did and the depth of his car­ing about again not just the peo­ple that he worked with,’ said Hick­en­loop­er. ‘But the inmates that were there, about those of us here that he worked with was remark­able.’

    In a state­ment released ear­li­er in the day and sent to 6,000 depart­ment employ­ees, Hick­en­loop­er said he was in dis­be­lief over the killing.

    ‘Last night, Tom Clements was killed at his home in Mon­u­ment. I can hard­ly believe it, let alone write words to describe it,’ Hick­en­loop­er wrote.

    ‘As your exec­u­tive direc­tor, he helped change and improve (the depart­ment) in two years more than most peo­ple could do in eight years. He was unfail­ing­ly kind and thought­ful, and sought the “good” in any sit­u­a­tion.

    ‘I am so sad. I have nev­er worked with a bet­ter per­son than Tom, and I can’t imag­ine our team with­out him,’ Hick­en­loop­er said.

    Clements is sur­vived by his wife, Lisa, who is direc­tor of the state Office of Behav­ioral Health, and their two daugh­ters, Rachel and Sara. Hick­en­loop­er asked the pub­lic to respect their pri­va­cy.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 23, 2013, 11:12 am
  2. @Pterrafractyl–

    Good think­ing. Clements was clear­ly tar­get­ed for delib­er­ate assas­si­na­tion. As to why, you may have the answer.

    Cer­tain­ly, Hick­en­loop­er’s links to Ebel, Sr. look embar­rass­ing.

    This MAY be part of the GOP’s strat­e­gy to do bet­ter at the polls.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | March 23, 2013, 3:43 pm
  3. @Dave:
    Accord­ing to the fol­low­ing arti­cle, Clements recent­ly ordered the mov­ing of sev­er­al core lead­ers of the 211 gang to a dif­fer­ent facil­i­ty in recent months, includ­ing 211’s founder “Ben­jamin Davis”, in order to dilute their strength and this is seen as a pos­si­ble motive for the assas­si­na­tion. But as the arti­cle also points out, call­ing for a hit on a high-lev­el secu­ri­ty offi­cial is pret­ty much a guar­an­tee that law enforce­ment is going to go crack down severe­ly on the gang (as Mark Potak describes it here, if 211 called that hit on Clements, law enforce­ment is going to war with them). So, from that per­spec­tive, the mov­ing around of 211’s prison lead­ers still does­n’t pro­vide a very sen­si­ble motive for this kind of action:

    Clements mur­der: Coloa­do prison shuf­fle jarred gang
    By Kirk Mitchell
    The Den­ver Post

    Post­ed: 03/24/2013 12:01:00 AM MDT
    Updat­ed: 03/24/2013 12:06:10 AM MDT

    One month before Col­orado pris­ons chief Tom Clements was shot to death in the door­way of his home — a shoot­ing now linked to a white suprema­cist — prison offi­cials shook the world of hun­dreds of mem­bers of the sus­pec­t’s prison gang, the 211 Crew.

    The Den­ver Post has learned that Clements’ Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions staff moved a core group of white suprema­cist lead­ers held at Ster­ling Cor­rec­tion­al Com­plex to Bue­na Vista Cor­rec­tion­al Cen­ter, dilut­ing their num­bers and strength.

    “There was a group up there and (prison offi­cials) decid­ed to break them up,” said a DOC offi­cial who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty.

    Now DOC offi­cials and oth­ers are inves­ti­gat­ing whether Clements’ killing was an ordered “hit,” or whether the gun­man was act­ing alone, a source told The Den­ver Post.

    Four DOC and fed­er­al offi­cials spoke to the Post on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because they were not autho­rized to speak offi­cial­ly due to the ongo­ing crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion.

    In court papers obtained by The Post, author­i­ties in Texas said the same type and brand of 9mm bul­let cas­ings were found at Clements’ Mon­u­ment home and at the scene of a gun bat­tle with Evan Spencer Ebel, 28.

    Ebel — a 211 sol­dier with an exten­sive crim­i­nal his­to­ry — was killed in a shootout Thurs­day with Texas deputies and offi­cers after a 100 mph chase in his black Cadil­lac. The car is also believed to be tied to the scene of Clements’ killing Tues­day night and the mur­der of piz­za-deliv­ery dri­ver Nathan Leon two days ear­li­er.

    Lt. Jeff Kramer, spokesman for the El Paso Coun­ty Sher­if­f’s Office, said inves­ti­ga­tors do not know the motive for killing Clements. But they have said there is no evi­dence it was a home-inva­sion rob­bery.

    On Sat­ur­day, El Paso Coun­ty author­i­ties indi­cat­ed they have “strong, strong evi­dence” that Ebel was involved in Clements’ mur­der. Texas author­i­ties also found a Domi­no’s piz­za deliv­ery box and jack­et or shirt in the trunk of Ebel’s car.

    State prison offi­cials decid­ed to move 211 mem­bers to oth­er pris­ons as a means of blunt­ing the pow­er base of the 211 and stem gang recruit­ing, DOC spokes­woman Kather­ine San­guinet­ti said in an inter­view last week before Clements’ death.

    One DOC source said the shuf­fling of 211 Crew lead­ers could have pro­vid­ed the impe­tus for the gang to seek retal­i­a­tion by killing Clements, DOC’s top offi­cial.

    The urgency of the mur­der inves­ti­ga­tion is com­pound­ed by the fact that if a gang leader, or “shot caller,” ordered Clements’ hit, oth­er state offi­cials could be tar­get­ed.

    “Obvi­ous­ly some­thing is hap­pen­ing with the 211s,” the source said. “It means oth­er peo­ple could be in dan­ger.”

    Since Clements’ mur­der, Col­orado law enforce­ment has increased secu­ri­ty for Gov. John Hick­en­loop­er and put all 20 of Col­orado pub­lic pris­ons in mod­i­fied lock­down as pre­cau­tions against fur­ther vio­lence. The lock­down con­tin­ues at least until Mon­day.

    The deci­sion to move 211 Crew mem­bers was made, a DOC source said, short­ly after a 211 mem­ber incar­cer­at­ed at Ster­ling com­mit­ted sui­cide dur­ing a trans­fer to Jef­fer­son Coun­ty Deten­tion Facil­i­ty for a court hear­ing.

    Jef­fer­son Coun­ty Sher­if­f’s spokesman Mark Tech­mey­er said that on March 7, Eric Vasquez, 24, hanged him­self in the jail’s hold­ing mod­ule. Vasquez had been trans­ferred to Jef­fer­son Coun­ty a day ear­li­er from Ster­ling Cor­rec­tion­al Facil­i­ty. Vasquez’s body was dis­cov­ered at 10:15 p.m., the day before he was to appear for a court hear­ing, Tech­mey­er said.

    Accord­ing to DOC records, Ben­jamin Davis, who is serv­ing a 108-year prison term for rack­e­teer­ing and con­spir­a­cy and solic­i­ta­tion to com­mit assault, is incar­cer­at­ed at Bue­na Vista.

    Nation­al­ly rec­og­nized gang expert Robert Walk­er, who once taught a sem­i­nar on prison gangs to cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers at the fed­er­al Super­max prison in Flo­rence, said Davis is the 211 “shot caller,” the gen­er­al who can order gang-sanc­tioned hits.

    Walk­er said he believes DOC offi­cials should be able to quick­ly deter­mine whether a 211 shot caller ordered a hit on Clements. Oth­er gang mem­bers who know the ori­gins of such a hit may be moti­vat­ed to “snitch” for spe­cial priv­i­leges or sen­tenc­ing con­ces­sions, he said.

    “They may be able to find some evi­dence of a com­mu­ni­ca­tion between the shot caller and the killer,” Walk­er said. “It’s just like the shot caller pulled the trig­ger. He is as guilty as the per­son who pulled the trig­ger.”

    ...

    Ebel had been in prison most of his adult life and was just recent­ly released from prison and the direct con­trol of the 211 gang. He was released on manda­to­ry parole on Jan. 28, said Eric Brown, Hick­en­loop­er’s spokesman.

    A DOC source said Ebel had most recent­ly been in the Ster­ling prison, which until the DOC shake-up had been con­sid­ered a 211 strong­hold.

    Gang shot callers must approve key hits, Walk­er said. Fail­ure to obtain the sanc­tion of a gang before killing could bring pun­ish­ment, Walk­er said.

    When a mem­ber of the Mex­i­can Mafia killed chil­dren con­trary to gang ide­ol­o­gy, a gang shot caller ordered a hit and the mem­ber was mur­dered, Walk­er said.

    Get­ting gang approval for a hit is all the more cru­cial when the tar­get has a high pro­file because of poten­tial back­lash the gang as a whole could suf­fer, Walk­er said. He said unques­tion­ably, every iden­ti­fied 211 mem­ber in the Col­orado penal sys­tem will under­go intense scruti­ny as a result of Clements’ mur­der.

    “That’s a lot of heat on the 211s now,” Walk­er said. “They are going to suf­fer the con­se­quences. It will have long-last­ing impli­ca­tions.”

    He said that does­n’t mean that the thresh­old for a gang decid­ing who lives or dies is not high. The creed all gangs live by is “rep­u­ta­tion, respect, retal­i­a­tion,” Walk­er said.

    “Some­thing deemed dis­re­spect­ful to the gang, like step­ping on some­one’s toes, could draw ret­ri­bu­tion,” he said.

    Gang mem­bers don’t always seek approval before killing, though, and Walk­er said he has no idea whether Ebel, if he killed Clements, was act­ing on orders or because he had a per­son­al beef with the pris­ons direc­tor.

    “He should know he needs to get approval — unless he act­ed on his own and did­n’t give a damn what the gang thought,” Walk­er said.

    Mov­ing a shot caller from one prison to anoth­er would not nec­es­sar­i­ly dimin­ish his pow­er, Walk­er said.

    “He is still the man in charge,” he said. “He’ll still call the shots in the state of Col­orado.”

    ...

    One Den­ver gang expert is skep­ti­cal that Clements’ mur­der was ordered by the gang, adding that it is more like­ly that Ebel act­ed on his own moti­va­tion.

    “It is my opin­ion who­ev­er did this did so to get them­selves estab­lished,” said Rev. Leon Kel­ly, founder of a Den­ver parolee gang reform group called Flip The Script. “He was a nobody. This would give his group boast­ing rights. In death he’s made his­to­ry. Now he is going to be known across the coun­try. He’s immor­tal­ized.”

    Scott Levin, region­al direc­tor of the Anti-Defama­tion League, also said such a shoot­ing would be an unusu­al action tak­en by a white suprema­cist prison gang.

    “The 211 gang has been iden­ti­fied with bias-moti­vat­ed inci­dents,” Levin said. “On the sur­face we don’t see any evi­dence of a typ­i­cal white suprema­cist action.”

    If Ebel act­ed on his own, is seems that he was basi­cal­ly on a sui­cide run just months after get­ting released. First he mur­ders Nathan Leon, a piz­za deliv­ery man, for maybe $20 in cash and a piz­za, then he kills Clements, and then he dri­ves off to Texas, dying in a shootout where they find the same card­board piz­za box. He basi­cal­ly guar­an­teed that he’ll become an instant nation­al sto­ry as the guy that killed the guy that got him released from prison and ensured a crack­down on his gang. It’s an odd way to seek “glo­ry” in death if that was the motive. And if he was act­ing on the orders of 211’s “shot caller”, Ben­jamin Davis, that would indi­cat­ed that a prison reshuf­fling was enough of a motive to do some­thing that would guar­an­tee mak­ing life much worse for the entire 211 gang even though the reshuf­fling did­n’t appear to reduce Davis’s lead­er­ship clout (as evi­denced by the abil­i­ty to call a hit on Clements). Very very strange.

    In relat­ed news, giv­en Wayne LaPier­re’s and the NRA’s fix­a­tion on crack­ing down on gangs as the appro­pri­ate response to the New­town shoot­ings and giv­en that Hick­en­loop­er signed into law three new gun laws the day after Clements was killed, the role gun con­trol plays in the 2013 elec­tions in Col­orado should be inter­est­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 24, 2013, 4:01 am
  4. Bomb-mak­ing mate­r­i­al was found in Evan Ebel’s car along with sur­veil­lance equip­ment. Inves­ti­ga­tors are also won­der­ing whether the pres­ence of Nathan Leon’s piz­za deliv­ery uni­form in Ebel’s car indi­cates that the uni­form was worn by Ebel and used to get Clements to open his door although they haven’t been able to tie the gun found with Ebel to the one used to kill Leon(raising the ques­tion of accom­plices). It would appear that some­one real­ly want­ed Clements dead. It also appears that a fair amount of plan­ning went into Ebel’s actions:

    Bomb-mak­ing Mate­ri­als Found In Colo. Suspect’s Car

    ANGELA K. BROWN and P. SOLOMON BANDA March 26, 2013, 3:59 PM
    AP

    DECATUR, Texas (AP) — Inves­ti­ga­tors found bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als and pants that appeared to have blood on them in the car of a man sus­pect­ed of killing Colorado’s pris­ons chief, accord­ing to doc­u­ments made pub­lic Tues­day.

    Author­i­ties also found maps, hand­writ­ten direc­tions and doc­u­ments from the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions in Evan Spencer Ebel’s black Cadil­lac. Also found were a Domino’s Piz­za worker’s shirt and visor, and a piz­za car­ri­er bag along with zip ties and duct tape.

    Ebel was killed in a shootout with Texas author­i­ties last week after a high-speed chase.

    Author­i­ties in Decatur, where Ebel’s car crashed before the shootout, sent the items they found to Col­orado agen­cies inves­ti­gat­ing the death of cor­rec­tions chief Tom Clements and the slay­ing of a piz­za deliv­ery­man whose body was found two days before Clements was killed.

    Inves­ti­ga­tors haven’t released a motive or com­ment­ed on Ebel’s ties to a white suprema­cist prison gang. The doc­u­ments from Texas author­i­ties detail­ing what they found in Ebel’s car are not spe­cif­ic enough to shed addi­tion­al light on the mat­ter.

    But Capt. Kevin Ben­ton of the Wise Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office in Decatur said the hand­writ­ten direc­tions that were found would be use­ful to Col­orado author­i­ties’ inves­ti­ga­tion. He didn’t elab­o­rate.

    Also in the car were black pow­der, a sur­veil­lance sys­tem, a dig­i­tal voice recorder, and hand­writ­ten doc­u­ments and let­ters, accord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

    Col­orado inves­ti­ga­tors refused to dis­cuss the evi­dence.

    “We don’t want to speak about their rel­e­van­cy or what they might mean to our inves­ti­ga­tion,” said Sgt. Joe Roy­bal, spokesman for the El Paso Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office.

    A week after Clements died after open­ing his front door, inves­ti­ga­tors were still try­ing to deter­mine Ebel’s role in the slay­ings and whether oth­ers were involved. El Paso Coun­ty author­i­ties said they were able to match the gun Ebel used in the Texas shootout to the one used in Clements’ slay­ing through micro­scop­ic marks left on the shell cas­ings.

    Author­i­ties in Den­ver have said they’re con­fi­dent that Ebel is linked to the slay­ing of piz­za deliv­ery dri­ver Nathan Leon, 28, a mar­ried father of two, but they have not said whether they’ve also been able to link the gun found in Texas to Leon’s slay­ing.

    Inves­ti­ga­tors are try­ing to deter­mine whether Leon’s slay­ing was to pro­cure a piz­za box and Domino’s Piz­za uni­form to help per­suade Clements to open his front door, El Paso Coun­ty author­i­ties said.

    In Texas, author­i­ties were try­ing to find out why Ebel was there and where he was going. After dis­cov­er­ing bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als in his car, a Wise Coun­ty detec­tive was assigned to help the Texas Rangers inves­ti­gat­ing the case, Ben­ton said.

    “Every­body wants to know where he was head­ed to and why,” he said.

    A deputy in near­by Mon­tague Coun­ty who was shot by Ebel dur­ing a traf­fic stop before the March 21 chase was released from the hos­pi­tal Tues­day and moved to a reha­bil­i­ta­tion facil­i­ty to recov­er from a severe con­cus­sion.

    Clements’ funer­al was Sun­day, and hun­dreds of law enforce­ment offi­cers, cor­rec­tions work­ers, law­mak­ers and state dig­ni­taries attend­ed a memo­r­i­al ser­vice for him Mon­day. Clements was remem­bered as a prison sys­tem reformer with a strong belief in redemp­tion and who worked to reduce the use of soli­tary con­fine­ment in Col­orado pris­ons.

    ....

    Hick­en­loop­er has said he did not men­tion Evan Ebel by name in that con­ver­sa­tion, and there was no indi­ca­tion that his rela­tion­ship with Jack Ebel played a role in the shoot­ing. Hick­en­loop­er also said he did not hav­ing any role in Evan Ebel’s parole in Jan­u­ary.

    ...

    Bomb-mak­ing Mate­ri­als Found In Colo. Suspect’s Car

    ANGELA K. BROWN and P. SOLOMON BANDA March 26, 2013, 3:59 PM
    AP

    DECATUR, Texas (AP) — Inves­ti­ga­tors found bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als and pants that appeared to have blood on them in the car of a man sus­pect­ed of killing Colorado’s pris­ons chief, accord­ing to doc­u­ments made pub­lic Tues­day.

    Author­i­ties also found maps, hand­writ­ten direc­tions and doc­u­ments from the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions in Evan Spencer Ebel’s black Cadil­lac. Also found were a Domino’s Piz­za worker’s shirt and visor, and a piz­za car­ri­er bag along with zip ties and duct tape.

    Ebel was killed in a shootout with Texas author­i­ties last week after a high-speed chase.

    Author­i­ties in Decatur, where Ebel’s car crashed before the shootout, sent the items they found to Col­orado agen­cies inves­ti­gat­ing the death of cor­rec­tions chief Tom Clements and the slay­ing of a piz­za deliv­ery­man whose body was found two days before Clements was killed.

    Inves­ti­ga­tors haven’t released a motive or com­ment­ed on Ebel’s ties to a white suprema­cist prison gang. The doc­u­ments from Texas author­i­ties detail­ing what they found in Ebel’s car are not spe­cif­ic enough to shed addi­tion­al light on the mat­ter.

    But Capt. Kevin Ben­ton of the Wise Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office in Decatur said the hand­writ­ten direc­tions that were found would be use­ful to Col­orado author­i­ties’ inves­ti­ga­tion. He didn’t elab­o­rate.

    Also in the car were black pow­der, a sur­veil­lance sys­tem, a dig­i­tal voice recorder, and hand­writ­ten doc­u­ments and let­ters, accord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

    Col­orado inves­ti­ga­tors refused to dis­cuss the evi­dence.

    “We don’t want to speak about their rel­e­van­cy or what they might mean to our inves­ti­ga­tion,” said Sgt. Joe Roy­bal, spokesman for the El Paso Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office.

    A week after Clements died after open­ing his front door, inves­ti­ga­tors were still try­ing to deter­mine Ebel’s role in the slay­ings and whether oth­ers were involved. El Paso Coun­ty author­i­ties said they were able to match the gun Ebel used in the Texas shootout to the one used in Clements’ slay­ing through micro­scop­ic marks left on the shell cas­ings.

    Author­i­ties in Den­ver have said they’re con­fi­dent that Ebel is linked to the slay­ing of piz­za deliv­ery dri­ver Nathan Leon, 28, a mar­ried father of two, but they have not said whether they’ve also been able to link the gun found in Texas to Leon’s slay­ing.

    Inves­ti­ga­tors are try­ing to deter­mine whether Leon’s slay­ing was to pro­cure a piz­za box and Domino’s Piz­za uni­form to help per­suade Clements to open his front door, El Paso Coun­ty author­i­ties said.

    In Texas, author­i­ties were try­ing to find out why Ebel was there and where he was going. After dis­cov­er­ing bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als in his car, a Wise Coun­ty detec­tive was assigned to help the Texas Rangers inves­ti­gat­ing the case, Ben­ton said.

    “Every­body wants to know where he was head­ed to and why,” he said.

    A deputy in near­by Mon­tague Coun­ty who was shot by Ebel dur­ing a traf­fic stop before the March 21 chase was released from the hos­pi­tal Tues­day and moved to a reha­bil­i­ta­tion facil­i­ty to recov­er from a severe con­cus­sion.

    Clements’ funer­al was Sun­day, and hun­dreds of law enforce­ment offi­cers, cor­rec­tions work­ers, law­mak­ers and state dig­ni­taries attend­ed a memo­r­i­al ser­vice for him Mon­day. Clements was remem­bered as a prison sys­tem reformer with a strong belief in redemp­tion and who worked to reduce the use of soli­tary con­fine­ment in Col­orado pris­ons.

    ....

    Hick­en­loop­er has said he did not men­tion Evan Ebel by name in that con­ver­sa­tion, and there was no indi­ca­tion that his rela­tion­ship with Jack Ebel played a role in the shoot­ing. Hick­en­loop­er also said he did not hav­ing any role in Evan Ebel’s parole in Jan­u­ary.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 27, 2013, 9:26 am
  5. In the lat­est bizarre update to Ebel’s case, it turns out Ebel was released four years ear­ly back in Jan­u­ary of this year due to a cler­i­cal error in the 11th Judi­cial Dis­trict Court that took place in 2008 when the four years for assault­ing a prison guard was added to his eight year sen­tence. The judge did­n’t spec­i­fy that the four years were sup­posed to be served con­sec­u­tive­ly instead of con­cur­rent­ly. The default thing to do when that’s not spec­i­fied in the legal form is to make it a con­cur­rent sen­tence. In this case, at three years into an eight year term, a con­cur­rent term would not extend the sen­tence at all. The Col­orado Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions was giv­en a sen­tenc­ing order that only ref­er­enced a con­cur­rent sen­tence accord­ing to offi­cials. That was quite a cler­i­cal error:

    Court apol­o­gizes for cler­i­cal error that led to Ebel’s release four years ear­ly

    By Sadie Gur­man
    The Den­ver Post
    Post­ed: 04/01/2013 04:31:25 PM MDT
    Updat­ed: 04/02/2013 12:12:47 AM MDT

    A dis­trict court on Mon­day apol­o­gized for a cler­i­cal error that result­ed in the release from prison of Evan Ebel four years too soon and said it would review its prac­tices to avoid anoth­er mis­take.

    ...

    The mis­take allowed Ebel to be released from prison Jan. 28 with­out serv­ing any addi­tion­al time for a 2008 con­vic­tion for assault­ing a prison guard, despite the terms of a plea agree­ment.

    The April 2008 agree­ment called for Ebel to serve a prison term of four years — con­sec­u­tive­ly after com­plet­ing an eight-year stint — for slip­ping out of hand­cuffs and punch­ing the cor­rec­tions offi­cer Nov. 27, 2006.

    Judge David M. Thor­son announced the sen­tence at a June 2008 hear­ing but did not spec­i­fy that it was to be served con­sec­u­tive­ly.

    That led to prison offi­cials impos­ing a sen­tence that was con­cur­rent, mean­ing Ebel served no addi­tion­al time for the con­vic­tion.

    Because the judge did not express­ly state that the sen­tence was con­sec­u­tive, the court judi­cial assis­tant did not include that term in the mit­timus, the sen­tence order that went to the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions,” 11th Judi­cial Dis­trict Admin­is­tra­tor Wal­ter Blair wrote in a state­ment. “The court regrets this over­sight and extends con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of Mr. Nathan Leon and Mr. Tom Clements.”

    Prison offi­cials are required to impose a con­cur­rent sen­tence when a judge does not spec­i­fy how it should be served, Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions spokes­woman Ali­son Mor­gan said. She declined to com­ment fur­ther.

    Eleventh Judi­cial Dis­trict Attor­ney Thom LeDoux said Mon­day he would con­sid­er review­ing oth­er cas­es for sim­i­lar mis­takes, though he did not believe the prob­lem was wide­spread.

    Lane said her fam­i­ly was con­sid­er­ing legal options. But local attor­ney Dan Recht said the fam­i­lies of the men who were killed will have no recourse as far as suing the 11th Judi­cial Dis­trict because the court has immu­ni­ty.

    “The court has immu­ni­ty from civ­il law­suits from the actions it takes,” Recht said. “One of the most strongest entrenched immu­ni­ties is for judi­cial offi­cers.”

    In addi­tion to the cler­i­cal error, Ebel was released near­ly four months ear­ly as a result of a 2011 law that allowed him and oth­ers to earn time off their sen­tences for their months and years spent in admin­is­tra­tive seg­re­ga­tion.

    Ebel was shot to death dur­ing a gun­fight with sher­if­f’s deputies in Wise Coun­ty, Texas, where he crashed his 1991 Cadil­lac DeV­ille on March 21. Author­i­ties have not said why he head­ed to Texas, but court records show that they found bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als, instruc­tions and hand­writ­ten direc­tions in his car. Nei­ther the El Paso Coun­ty Sher­if­f’s Office, which is inves­ti­gat­ing the Clements killing, nor Den­ver police would elab­o­rate on the sig­nif­i­cance of those dis­cov­er­ies.

    Ste­vie Marie Anne Vig­il, 22, the Com­merce City woman charged with ille­gal­ly buy­ing Ebel the 9mm Smith & Wes­son hand­gun used in Clements’ death and the Texas shootout, has been released on $25,000 bond, her attor­ney said Mon­day. Court doc­u­ments show that she bought the gun from a shop in Engle­wood between March 6 and March 13.

    Attor­ney Nor­man­do Pacheco did not know how Vig­il was able to post bond.

    “All she said was fam­i­ly,” Pacheco said. He spoke with her briefly and “I told her to get some rest.”

    ...

    It’s going to be fas­ci­nat­ing to see how this new detail affects the over­all inter­pre­ta­tion and polit­i­cal posi­tion­ing that’s build­ing up in the state of Col­orado around the event. Ebel had to know he was released ear­ly, so he may have been fear­ing get­ting round­ed up again, mak­ing him more like­ly be will­ing to go on a sui­cide-run-for-the-bor­der mur­der-spree. It’s unclear why Hick­en­loop­er would have known about the prison guard inci­dent via is job as gov­er­nor but Ebel’s dad might have known. So this bizarre back­sto­ry-twist to the case would have been part of the knowl­edge that Evan Ebel and any oth­er plan­ners would have known about in advance of the attacks. It Ebel went down Tal­iban-style, he’d be an instant scan­dal for a major Demo­c­ra­t­ic polit­i­cal fig­ure. So it’s look­ing increas­ing­ly pos­si­ble that he would have been a “hot com­mod­i­ty” in those months fol­low­ing his release.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 1, 2013, 11:35 pm
  6. Ebel spent much of his time behind bars in soli­tary con­fine­ment and had a long record of dis­ci­pli­nary vio­la­tions. Records show he joined a white suprema­cist prison gang.

    Ebel’s ear­ly release was just the lat­est twist in a case full of painful ironies. His father is friends with Hick­en­loop­er and had tes­ti­fied before the Col­orado Leg­is­la­ture about the dam­age soli­tary con­fine­ment did to his son. Clements was wor­ried about that very issue.

    Hick­en­loop­er raised the case with Clements when the gov­er­nor hired him to come to Col­orado in 2011. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nor said he nev­er men­tioned Ebel’s name and the inmate received no spe­cial treat­ment.

    With all of these bizarre twists it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how this case get’s politi­cized in Col­orado’s upcom­ing races. It’s a high-pro­file crime that can get point­ed to as an exam­ple why more “tough on crime” poli­cies are going to be need­ed to “lock away vio­lent felons up for good” or some­thing along those lines. But what are the actu­al pol­i­cy respons­es going to be? More soli­tary con­fine­ment? Longer sen­tences with few­er chances for parole? Those are the pre­dictable respons­es so you still have to won­der what the 211 gang and/or Aryan Broth­er­hood want­ed to achieve? If harsh­er sen­tenc­ing laws emerge after future elec­tions that’s like­ly to extend the sen­tences of ALL prison gangs, not just the white suprema­cists, so it’s unclear that this assas­si­na­tion spree is going to ele­vate these white suprema­cist gangs’ sta­tus with­in the prison sys­tem. This assas­si­na­tion spree is sort of like the Tal­iban’s ongo­ing attacks on schools in Pak­istan: it’s hard to see how ter­ror­iz­ing school girls or mar­tyring pub­lic offi­cials is going to gar­ner much sup­port except amongst the tru­ly warped. But the tru­ly warped are sort of prime demo­graph­ics for these groups. Are these assas­si­na­tions part of a white-suprema­cist attempt to recruit the most extreme fring­ing from the grow­ing anti-gov­ern­ment move­ments in the coun­try?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 2, 2013, 12:28 pm
  7. And anoth­er twist:

    APNews­Break: Colo. sus­pect slipped ankle bracelet
    By NICHOLAS RICCARDI, Asso­ci­at­ed Press
    Updat­ed 12:36 pm, Tues­day, April 2, 2013

    DENVER (AP) — Parole offi­cials did not real­ize that a white suprema­cist gang mem­ber had slipped his ankle bracelet and fled cus­tody until five days after the sys­tem first flagged him as being delin­quent, accord­ing to records released Tues­day.

    They sent a war­rant out for his arrest the next day, one day before he was killed in a shootout with Texas author­i­ties and a day after police now say they think he was involved in the slay­ing of Col­orado pris­ons chief Tom Clements.

    “We have to do bet­ter in the future,” said Tim Hand, direc­tor of the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tion’s parole divi­sion.

    Evan Spencer Ebel had been a mod­el parolee until his elec­tron­ic mon­i­tor­ing bracelet stopped work­ing March 14. Before that, he called in dai­ly, even once call­ing in alarm because no one had request­ed his week­ly uri­nal­y­sis test to show he had­n’t been using drugs.

    His father pro­vid­ed him hous­ing and a job at his law firm, but on the after­noon of March 14, a “tam­per alert” auto­mat­i­cal­ly went to a prison com­put­er sys­tem show­ing the bracelet had stopped work­ing.

    Two days lat­er, cor­rec­tions offi­cials called Ebel and told him to come in to repair the bracelet. He did not show up.

    It was not until March 18 that parole offi­cers spoke to Ebel’s father, who told them he feared his son had fled and gave them per­mis­sion to search his apart­ment. The next day, two parole offi­cers saw Ebel had tak­en a large amount of cloth­ing and appar­ent­ly fled.

    That night, Clements was shot and killed as he answered the front door at his house. The next morn­ing, parole offi­cers obtained a war­rant for Ebel’s arrest for parole vio­la­tions and sent it to Col­orado State Patrol. They had no indi­ca­tion he was involved in the Clements’ killing until the shootout March 21.

    Ebel is also sus­pect­ed of killing a Den­ver piz­za deliv­ery man and father of three on March 17.

    It’s the lat­est break that Ebel seems to have caught as he spent near­ly a decade in Col­orado’s crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. Court offi­cials on Mon­day vowed to release pro­ce­dures that led to a cler­i­cal error that allowed Ebel to leave prison four years ear­ly.

    Judi­cial offi­cials acknowl­edged Mon­day that Ebel’s pre­vi­ous felony con­vic­tion was inac­cu­rate­ly record­ed and his release in Jan­u­ary was an error.

    ...

    Ebel spent much of his time behind bars in soli­tary con­fine­ment and had a long record of dis­ci­pli­nary vio­la­tions. Records show he joined a white suprema­cist prison gang.

    Ebel’s ear­ly release was just the lat­est twist in a case full of painful ironies. His father is friends with Hick­en­loop­er and had tes­ti­fied before the Col­orado Leg­is­la­ture about the dam­age soli­tary con­fine­ment did to his son. Clements was wor­ried about that very issue.

    Hick­en­loop­er raised the case with Clements when the gov­er­nor hired him to come to Col­orado in 2011. The Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nor said he nev­er men­tioned Ebel’s name and the inmate received no spe­cial treat­ment.

    With all of these bizarre twists it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how this case get’s politi­cized in Col­orado’s upcom­ing races. It’s a high-pro­file crime that can get point­ed to as an exam­ple why more “tough on crime” poli­cies are going to be need­ed to “lock away vio­lent felons up for good” or some­thing along those lines. But what are the actu­al pol­i­cy respons­es going to be? More soli­tary con­fine­ment? Longer sen­tences with few­er chances for parole? Those are the pre­dictable respons­es so you still have to won­der what the 211 gang and/or Aryan Broth­er­hood want­ed to achieve? If harsh­er sen­tenc­ing laws emerge after future elec­tions that’s like­ly to extend the sen­tences of ALL prison gangs, not just the white suprema­cists, so it’s unclear that this assas­si­na­tion spree is going to ele­vate these white suprema­cist gangs’ sta­tus with­in the prison sys­tem. This assas­si­na­tion spree is sort of like the Tal­iban’s ongo­ing attacks on schools in Pak­istan: it’s hard to see how ter­ror­iz­ing school girls or mar­tyring pub­lic offi­cials is going to gar­ner much sup­port except amongst the tru­ly warped. But the tru­ly warped are sort of prime demo­graph­ics for these groups. Are these assas­si­na­tions part of a white-suprema­cist attempt to recruit the most extreme fring­ing from the grow­ing anti-gov­ern­ment move­ments in the coun­try?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 2, 2013, 12:28 pm
  8. Here’s the first offi­cial indi­ca­tion that Ebel may have had help from oth­er gang mem­bers:

    2 Men With Ties To White Suprema­cist Gang Sought In Colo. Prison Chief’s Killing

    CATHERINE TSAI April 4, 2013, 6:17 AM

    DENVER (AP) — Two more men con­nect­ed to a vio­lent white suprema­cist gang are being sought in con­nec­tion with the slay­ing of Colorado’s pris­ons chief, and author­i­ties are warn­ing offi­cers that they are armed and dan­ger­ous.

    The search comes about two weeks after prison gang mem­ber Evan Ebel — a sus­pect in the death of Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions chief Tom Clements on March 19 and of Nathan Leon, a piz­za deliv­ery­man, two days ear­li­er — was killed in a shootout with Texas deputies.

    While it’s not clear whether the gang, the 211 Crew, is linked to the killing, the warn­ing bul­letin issued late Wednes­day by the El Paso Coun­ty Sheriff’s Depart­ment is the first offi­cial word that oth­er gang mem­bers may be involved.

    James Lohr, 47, and Thomas Guolee, 31, aren’t being called sus­pects in Clements’ death, but their names have sur­faced dur­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion, El Paso Coun­ty sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Kramer said. He wouldn’t elab­o­rate.

    Kramer said the two are known asso­ciates of the 211 gang.

    Ebel is the only sus­pect that inves­ti­ga­tors have named in Clements’ death, but they haven’t giv­en a motive. They have said they’re look­ing into his con­nec­tion to the gang he joined while in prison, and whether that was con­nect­ed to the attack.

    “Inves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing at a lot of dif­fer­ent pos­si­bil­i­ties. We are not step­ping out and say­ing it’s a hit or it’s not a hit. We’re look­ing at all pos­si­ble motives,” Kramer said Wednes­day.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 4, 2013, 6:37 am
  9. Well this is unex­pect­ed even by the stan­dards of this crazy case: Evan Ebel appears to have filed a num­ber of griev­ances with the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions short­ly before his release where he voiced his con­cerns about his abil­i­ty to tran­si­tion back to soci­ety after spend­ing so many years in soli­tary con­fine­ment. So Ebel appar­ent­ly did­n’t want to be released with­out a rehab pro­gram after the con­fine­ment. At a min­i­mum, it would appear that Ebel was­n’t fak­ing it when he claimed soli­tary con­fine­ment was destroy­ing his mind. As the arti­cle points out at the end, Tom Clements’s was cham­pi­oning the reform of exact­ly this type of prac­tice of releas­ing pris­on­ers straight from soli­tary con­fine­ment back into soci­ety:

    Evan Ebel, Sus­pect In Tom Clements Mur­der, Was Con­cerned About Tran­si­tion Back Into Soci­ety

    The Col­orado Inde­pen­dent | By Susan Greene Post­ed: 04/26/2013 6:09 pm EDT | Updat­ed: 04/28/2013 11:32 am EDT

    Evan Ebel, sus­pect­ed mur­der­er of Pris­ons Chief Tom Clements, filed a series of griev­ances with the Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions short­ly before his release from prison that doc­u­ment his con­cerns about tran­si­tion­ing direct­ly from years in soli­tary con­fine­ment to the free world.

    “Do you have an oblig­a­tion to the pub­lic to reac­cli­mate me, the dan­ger­ous inmate, to being around oth­er human beings pri­or to being released and, if not, why?” Ebel asked in three for­mal griev­ances, each almost ver­ba­tim, filed in the months before he walked free in Jan­u­ary.

    Ebel’s con­cerns fell on the deaf ears of prison offi­cials who, doc­u­ments sug­gest, seemed to care less than Ebel him­self about the volatil­i­ty and threat posed by a pris­on­er who had a his­to­ry of threat­en­ing and injur­ing prison guards. Instead, the offi­cials to whom the griev­ances were addressed focused on Ebel’s fail­ure to dot the I’s and cross the T’s in his paper­work. They repeat­ed­ly found cause to dis­miss them. Ebel “failed to fol­low the griev­ance pro­ce­dure,” they wrote, and his messy hand­writ­ing failed to stay with­in the lines of the forms.

    In fact, the depart­ment didn’t answer Ebel’s final com­plaint until he already had been set free. The DOC wrote its final griev­ance rejec­tion let­ter on Feb­ru­ary 11, two weeks after it had released Ebel on parole. The let­ter gives a glimpse into his frus­tra­tions with the prison sys­tem, what Ebel saw as its soul­less­ness and counter-pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. Ear­li­er griev­ances show Ebel felt those con­di­tions were crush­ing his human­i­ty.

    It’s unclear if Ebel ever real­ly expect­ed to receive a con­sid­ered response to his anx­ious ques­tions. What he got was bureau­crateze.

    “In this instance, you have writ­ten two lines of nar­ra­tive into many of the lined spaces intend­ed for just one line of nar­ra­tive,” Griev­ance Offi­cer Antho­ny A. DeCe­saro wrote in a response dat­ed Feb­ru­ary 11. “This result­ed in a great deal of your griev­ance becom­ing illeg­i­ble. So, when you claim in the Step 2 that the Step 1 response didn’t read your griev­ance per­haps it was because the Step 1 was the most part illeg­i­ble. In addi­tion, you claim that you are just look­ing for answers to ques­tions about pol­i­cy, Griev­ance Pro­ce­dure is not the appro­pri­ate method for debat­ing pol­i­cy ques­tions nor is it designed to address the pol­i­cy ques­tions you have posed. Please review AR 1350-03 Con­stituent Ser­vices Coor­di­na­tor for more infor­ma­tion about direct­ing your con­cerns.”

    ...

    For Ebel, “offend­er #125083,” as for about 800 oth­er state pris­on­ers still liv­ing in soli­tary con­fine­ment, “ad seg” is an exis­tence that cuts off vir­tu­al­ly all social stim­u­la­tion, nor­mal con­ver­sa­tion and human inter­ac­tion. It’s marked by an endur­ing same­ness that, study after study has shown, exac­er­bates men­tal ill­ness, atro­phies social abil­i­ties and can beat down the psy­che with hope­less­ness or spite.

    Some pris­on­ers cope by tak­ing up med­i­ta­tion or reli­gious prac­tice. Some read and reread as much as pos­si­ble, giv­en the lim­it­ed num­ber of books they’re allowed in their cells. Some tune into TV and radio, if and when they’re allowed those priv­i­leges. Some draw or com­pose songs that nobody hears them sing. Some do push-ups. Some pace in cir­cles. Some inces­sant­ly write let­ters to rel­a­tives, friends, friends of friends, politi­cians, cler­gy mem­bers, jour­nal­ists and any­one else they hope will open their envelopes.

    Instead of using vio­lence or smear­ing feces on the wall – two oth­er ways Ebel used to voice his frus­tra­tions in iso­la­tion — fil­ing for­mal griev­ances is the prison system’s sug­gest­ed method of voic­ing con­cerns, big and small.

    Ebel’s griev­ances were well writ­ten in rel­a­tive­ly neat pen­man­ship that degen­er­at­ed near the time of his release. They gen­er­al­ly were suc­cinct and polite — usu­al­ly end­ing in “thanks” or even an under­lined “thanks” – but they were also demand­ing and at times idio­syn­crat­ic.

    The sub­jects of his griev­ances includ­ed prob­lems send­ing and receiv­ing mail and DOC’s deci­sion not to let a woman vis­it him on grounds that her driver’s license wasn’t valid. Ebel com­plained about what he called inad­e­quate med­ical treat­ment for a knee prob­lem, tremors and spasms, intesti­nal issues, a colosto­my bag and a per­sis­tent eye infec­tion. He griev­ed that the prison cen­sored his “Resis­tance” mag­a­zines, a pub­li­ca­tion pop­u­lar among white suprema­cists. And he decried the con­fis­ca­tion of his lit­er­a­ture about Asatru, a faith based on North­ern Euro­pean white lin­eage that Ebel list­ed as his reli­gion. He com­plained about the cost of can­teen items, and the lack of food prod­ucts with pro­tein for sale to pris­on­ers. He griev­ed about his laun­dry going miss­ing.

    ...

    Ebel’s use of the griev­ance process took a turn in Novem­ber 2012 when, in hand­writ­ing that was remark­ably small­er and more fre­net­ic than before, he start­ed ask­ing broad­er ques­tions of the DOC. He appar­ent­ly had been released from, then sent back to soli­tary con­fine­ment after a fight with anoth­er pris­on­er involv­ing a knife.

    “It’s impor­tant that you under­stand I’m not griev­ing the ad seg lev­el review…nor your deci­sion regard­ing my own lev­el review but rather have a few ques­tions regard­ing your gen­er­al pol­i­cy,” he wrote.

    He want­ed to know the department’s posi­tion on self-defense.

    “I have a basic and unde­ni­able right as a human being to defend my life. If I’m being attacked with a knife am I just sup­posed to lie down…?” he asked.

    He want­ed to know how the DOC jus­ti­fied his place­ment back in soli­tary con­fine­ment for gang activ­i­ty when he said the depart­ment couldn’t prove any active gang involve­ment.

    And he want­ed to know why the depart­ment was about to release him direct­ly out of soli­tary con­fine­ment with­out prepar­ing him for human con­tact.

    The DOC didn’t answer, dis­miss­ing his ques­tions “because the griev­ance pro­ce­dure can­not be used to review con­vic­tions or seg­re­ga­tion place­ment….”

    Ebel wasn’t sat­is­fied. On Decem­ber 12, 2012, he filed a fol­low-up com­plaint, start­ing with “Clear­ly you didn’t actu­al­ly read my griev­ance.” He went on to pose the same three ques­tions to the depart­ment.

    DOC’s response read as fol­lows: “A War­den review was con­duct­ed on Octo­ber 24, 2012. The deci­sion at that time was that you be retained in Admin­is­tra­tive Seg­re­ga­tion. It has been your con­tin­ued neg­a­tive behav­ior that has result­ed in your reten­tion in your cur­rent sta­tus. You have been (sic) mul­ti­ple oppor­tu­ni­ties to progress as we strive for you to be giv­en oppor­tu­ni­ties to suc­ceed. I do not see a request­ed rem­e­dy, how­ev­er, if you are request­ing release from Admin­is­tra­tive Seg­re­ga­tion I need you to under­stand that AR850‑4, Griev­ance Pro­ce­dure, sec­tion IV.D states, 2. This griev­ance pro­ce­dure may not be used to seek review of any of the fol­low­ing: a. Code of Penal Dis­ci­pline con­vic­tions, admin­is­tra­tive seg­re­ga­tion place­ments, Parole Board deci­sions, and deci­sions of the Read­ing Com­mit­tee have exclu­sive appeal pro­ce­dures. b. Clas­si­fi­ca­tion is entire­ly at the dis­cre­tion of the admin­is­tra­tive head and clas­si­fi­ca­tion com­mit­tee of each facil­i­ty.”

    Ebel kept at it, fil­ing yet anoth­er fol­low-up griev­ance on Jan­u­ary 11, 2013.

    “Again, now for the third time what I’m look­ing for here are answers to 3 ques­tions,” he wrote.

    Among those ques­tions, again, was the issue of his forth­com­ing release from prison with­out step-down pro­grams prepar­ing him for social inter­ac­tion and life beyond prison walls.

    “Do you have an oblig­a­tion to the pub­lic to recli­ma­tize ‘dan­ger­ous’ inmates to being around oth­er human beings pri­or to releas­ing them into soci­ety after they have spent years in soli­tary con­fine­ment? If not, why? The rem­e­dy I’m request­ing is answers to these 3 ques­tions. Thank you.”

    DOC’s non-answer about Ebel’s messy hand­writ­ing was writ­ten two weeks after his release. By then, he was liv­ing in Com­merce City and con­fid­ing in his friend, parolee and for­mer CSP inmate Ryan Pet­ti­grew, about his strug­gles adjust­ing to reg­u­lar social inter­ac­tion, hand­shakes, eye con­tact and oth­er aspects of life out­side iso­la­tion. Text mes­sages from Ebel show he was anx­ious about his free­dom and tempt­ed by the urge to ease that anx­i­ety through vio­lence.

    “…im just feel­ing pecu­liar & the only way i know i know to rem­e­dy that is via use of ‘vio­lence’ even if that ‘vio­lence’ be some­thing as pet­ty & incon­se­quen­tial as a fist fight which id pre­fer be with some­one i can trust as opposed to some rene­gade civil­ian who odds are will tell,” Ebel texted Pet­ti­grew in mid-Feb­ru­ary, just as his griev­ance offi­cer was cit­ing prob­lems with his pen­man­ship in belat­ed­ly dis­miss­ing his con­cerns about his release.

    A month lat­er, Ebel is believed to have gunned down the DOC direc­tor at his front door in Mon­u­ment.

    Since Clements’ mur­der, much has been report­ed that Ebel was released four years ear­ly because of a cler­i­cal error fail­ing to log his addi­tion­al sen­tence for the attack on a prison guard. Ques­tions also have been raised about why Ebel’s sen­tence was cut for par­tic­i­pat­ing in reha­bil­i­ta­tion pro­grams that he didn’t com­plete. In Clements’ hon­or, state law­mak­ers are con­tem­plat­ing mea­sures to pre­vent such errors and loop­holes in the future.

    What’s not slat­ed for con­sid­er­a­tion in the remain­ing 12 days of the leg­isla­tive ses­sion is one of Clements’ top pri­or­i­ties: to improve reha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices and end DOC’s prac­tice of let­ting pris­on­ers walk straight from iso­la­tion onto the streets. Clements want­ed step-down pro­grams and longer tran­si­tion peri­ods instead of releas­ing pris­on­ers direct­ly from soli­tary con­fine­ment.

    “You have to ask your­self the ques­tion – How does hold­ing inmates in admin­is­tra­tive seg­re­ga­tion and then putting them out on a bus into the pub­lic, [how does that] square up?” Clements said in an inter­view last year. “We have to think about how what we do in pris­ons impacts the com­mu­ni­ty when [pris­on­ers] leave. It’s not just about run­ning the prison safe­ly and secure­ly. There’s a lot of research around soli­tary and iso­la­tion in recent years, some tied to POWs and some to cor­rec­tions. My expe­ri­ence tells me that long peri­ods of iso­la­tion can be counter-pro­duc­tive to sta­ble behav­ior and long-term reha­bil­i­ta­tion goals.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 30, 2013, 12:32 pm
  10. Was Evan Ebel helped by al-Tur­ki, the Sau­di pris­on­er orig­i­nal­ly sus­pect­ed in Clements’s killing? Inves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing into that pos­si­bil­i­ty:

    Talk­ing Points Memo
    Sau­di Inmate Back On Radar In Case Of Killed Col­orado Offi­cial
    Eric Lach April 30, 2013, 6:35 PM

    Author­i­ties inves­ti­gat­ing last month’s killing of Col­orado Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions chief Tom Clements set­tled on a sus­pect weeks ago. But the case hasn’t been closed.

    Evan Ebel, a 28-year-old parolee with a long crim­i­nal record and ties to a white suprema­cist prison gang, the 211 Crew, died after a shoot-out with Texas sheriff’s deputies just days after Clements’ killing. Author­i­ties lat­er deter­mined that Ebel had been car­ry­ing the gun that had been used to kill Clements.

    Accord­ing to an arti­cle pub­lished late Mon­day by The Den­ver Post, inves­ti­ga­tors still don’t have an answer for why Ebel may have killed Clements, and are look­ing at whether he had help. And, in that con­text, the name Homaid­an al-Tur­ki has resur­faced.

    Media reports in the days fol­low­ing Clements’ killing spec­u­lat­ed that the crime was con­nect­ed to al-Tur­ki, a Sau­di nation­al serv­ing time for a 2006 con­vic­tion for what the Post described as keep­ing a woman as a sex slave for years. Ear­li­er in March, Clements had writ­ten a let­ter inform­ing al-Tur­ki that he was deny­ing al-Turki’s request to serve out the remain­der of his sen­tence in Sau­di Ara­bia.

    Accord­ing to the Post, FBI agents are inves­ti­gat­ing “any pos­si­ble finan­cial trans­ac­tions between al-Tur­ki and 211 Crew mem­bers to deter­mine whether he had hired the gang for pro­tec­tion, among oth­er things.” Inves­ti­ga­tors are also inter­view­ing “al-Tur­ki asso­ciates who run errands for him out­side of prison,” one source told the paper.

    ...

    The El Paso Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office told the Post that al-Tur­ki remains of inter­est to the Clements’ case.

    “I don’t think that is a chap­ter that has been closed,” Lt. Jeff Kramer, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 1, 2013, 8:17 am
  11. @Pterrafractyl–

    Anoth­er thing to keep in mind in the con­text of the Clements case is the fact that the Sau­di milieu involved with the enti­ties bust­ed in the 3/20/2002 were fund­ing Mus­lim chap­lains in U.S. pris­ons.

    http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-398-more-on-the-virtual-state-manipulation-of-political-polarities/

    In addi­tion to the fact that we’ve seen Saud­is and Nazis (“neo” and otherwise)this should be kept in mind.

    Might a Sau­di-influ­enced Mus­lim chap­lain in the cor­rec­tions sys­tem helped to forge such a link, if there is one?

    Best,

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | May 1, 2013, 5:11 pm
  12. @Dave: That rais­es the ques­tion of just what kind of prison chap­lain ser­vices a fol­low­er of the Asatru vari­ant of Odin­ism might expect. Accord­ing to this 2009 SPLC piece below, a 2005 Supreme Court rul­ing should is start­ing to ensure that Asatru wor­shipers have access to some sort of out­side reli­gious leader, although it sounds like imple­men­ta­tion of that right it tak­ing a while (only 15 states had ser­vices for Odin­ist pris­on­ers at the time of that arti­cle). Who knows if Ebel or oth­er 211 gang mem­bers would have had access to an Asatru chap­lain. Ebel spent so much time in soli­tary con­fine­ment so he prob­a­bly did­n’t have too much access. But in an inter­est­ing tan­gen­tial fun-fact point­ed out the arti­cle, it sounds like the most vio­lent form of Odin­ism, Wotanism, isn’t pro­tect­ed by that Supreme Court rul­ing. It was also cooked up in Col­orado’s Super­max pris­ons sys­tem by David Lane of The Order. The arti­cle below also notes that Tex­as­’s prison sys­tem does­n’t allow gang mem­bers to access reli­gious ser­vices and refers to ABT Odin­ists. So if Col­orado is amongst the states that recruits non-pris­on­er Odin­ist to pro­vide ser­vices it’s unclear that Ebel or any oth­er 211 gang mem­bers would have been giv­en access to them any­ways as rec­og­nized gang mem­bers. But one real­ly has to hope there’s an effec­tive screen­ing process for the Odin­ist lead­ers allowed into these prison pro­grams because as we’ve seen with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s infil­tra­tion of these pro­grams the pos­si­bil­i­ty of white-suprema­cist Odin­ist chap­lains can’t be dis­count­ed:

    SPLC
    Intel­li­gence Report, Fall 2009, Issue Num­ber: 135
    Supreme Court Requires Pris­ons Give Spe­cial Con­sid­er­a­tion to Racist Pagans

    Supreme Court Rul­ing Boosts Odin­ist Inmates

    By Casey Sanchez

    Clar­i­fi­ca­tion: This sto­ry orig­i­nal­ly con­tained a descrip­tion of lit­i­ga­tion brought by a group of plain­tiffs includ­ing sev­er­al mem­bers of the Cau­casian Car­tel prison gang. It nev­er intend­ed to sug­gest that the Asatru adher­ent who orig­i­nal­ly filed the case was a mem­ber of the Cau­casian Car­tel or any oth­er gang.

    Each month, Lau­rel Owen leaves her home in Arkansas and dri­ves to pris­ons as far away as Texas and Ken­tucky, where she is paid to teach inmates the rit­u­als of a Norse pagan reli­gion known as Odin­ism or Asatru. Owen, who heads a sup­port group called the Prison Affairs Bureau of the Odinic Rite, says many inmates she meets have suf­fered for their beliefs. “Most of the guys you encounter inside will have spent time in the hole and been labeled a Secu­ri­ty Threat just for being Odin­ist,” she writes. “They have fought to be who they are.”

    As prac­ticed by Owen and oth­ers out­side prison, Odin­ism tends to be a benign form of pagan­ism, tol­er­ant of oth­ers and close to nature. Behind the walls, how­ev­er, it is like­ly to take on a more sin­is­ter cast, and many prison war­dens have long regard­ed Odin­ism as the reli­gious arm of white suprema­cist prison gangs. The U.S. Supreme Court has nonethe­less ruled that Odin­ist inmates have cer­tain rights that pris­ons must rec­og­nize. So while a decade ago a pagan vol­un­teer like Owen would have been dis­missed as a kook or, at worst, a gang liai­son, Odin­ist inmates today can wear Thor’s Ham­mer pen­dants under their jump­suits and request vis­its from out­side lead­ers.

    The Supreme Court rul­ing in 2005 involved a case brought by a band of Satanist, Odin­ist and white suprema­cist Church of Jesus Christ Chris­t­ian inmates, includ­ing some who are serv­ing time for racial­ly moti­vat­ed killings. The jus­tices ruled that pris­ons must accom­mo­date these unusu­al faiths. Four years and sev­er­al inmate law­suits lat­er, more than 15 state pris­ons now recruit non-inmate Odin­ists to devel­op pol­i­cy, write scripts for rit­u­als and lead cer­e­monies behind bars. Along with this new wave of reli­gious rights has come a raft of lit­i­ga­tion from inmates seek­ing to build fire pits in their cells, from con­vict­ed hate crime per­pe­tra­tors join­ing class-action law­suits to take 60 Odin­ist hol­i­days off work, and from white suprema­cists demand­ing the right to read lit­er­a­ture exhort­ing fol­low­ers to wage wars of race purifi­ca­tion. As secu­ri­ty-screened, non-racist Asatru vol­un­teers like Owen stream into the sys­tem, they face sus­pi­cion from prison chap­lains and com­pe­ti­tion from bet­ter-estab­lished racist Odin­ist groups with clout among inmates.

    The Dev­il’s Advo­cate
    Asatru and Odin­ism have had inmate adher­ents since the mid-1980s. (Among believ­ers, Asatru is some­times used inter­change­ably with Odin­ism, and at oth­er times it des­ig­nates an Ice­landic sect that ven­er­ates a sep­a­rate fam­i­ly of gods.) While some pris­on­ers have embraced a non-racial Asatru as a faith whose war­rior ethos speaks to them in a hos­tile envi­ron­ment, white nation­al­ist inmates have import­ed a Nordic racial pagan­ism from the racist-right sub­cul­ture of the ear­ly 1990s.

    Both types of inmates got a boost from the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case, Cut­ter v. Wilkin­son, brought by incar­cer­at­ed Asatruers, Satanists, Wic­cans and adher­ents of the Aryan Nations church, who sought the right to wor­ship in a group, wear reli­gious medal­lions and read lit­er­a­ture from their faith. An Ohio prison had denied their requests, argu­ing that their reli­gion was just a front for gang activ­i­ty. The inmates filed the orig­i­nal case in 2000, only months after Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton signed into law the Reli­gious Land Use and Insti­tu­tion­al­ized Per­sons Act (RLUIPA), which placed pris­ons that restrict­ed reli­gious expres­sion under heavy legal scruti­ny.

    ...

    At lat­est count, 15 states allow some form of group Asatru or Odin­ist wor­ship. In a 2007 affi­davit for a Utah pris­on­er suing for dam­ages after being denied the right to use cer­e­mo­ni­al altar cloths and drink mead from a bull horn in an Asatru cer­e­mo­ny, a fel­low inmate stat­ed: “Every prison I’ve been to has a Asatru/Odinist pro­gram. While in Fed­er­al cus­tody in Col­orado we won a Fed­er­al legal pro­ceed­ing for our own out­door area sim­i­lar to the Native Amer­i­cans. Our spon­sor was actu­al­ly one of the pris­on’s cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers.”

    Not all cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers are so sym­pa­thet­ic to Odin­ism. In a 2004 report, the Nation­al Gang Crime Research Cen­ter sur­veyed prison offi­cials in 49 states and found that Odin­ists, Asatruers and Wotans­volk were the most com­mon “white racist extrem­ist reli­gious front groups pros­e­ly­tiz­ing Amer­i­can prison inmates today.”

    One chill­ing exam­ple of Odin­ism in prison gone hay­wire is the case in Vir­ginia of Michael Lenz, a self-described high priest of Asatru. In 2000, he and five Asatruer inmates met around a makeshift altar for a “blot,” in which fol­low­ers make an offer­ing of food and drink to the gods. As Lenz would lat­er tes­ti­fy, he became con­vinced that inmate Brent Park­er was not tak­ing the cer­e­mo­ny seri­ous­ly and had to die to pro­tect the hon­or of the gods. Lenz and anoth­er inmate, Jef­frey Rem­ing­ton, stabbed Park­er 68 times with a makeshift knife. Lenz was exe­cut­ed for the mur­der in 2006; Rem­ing­ton com­mit­ted sui­cide in 2004 while on death row.

    Aryan Pris­on­ers of War
    Odin­is­m’s most vio­lent prison strain was cooked up in the Col­orado Super­max cell of lif­er inmate David Lane. Lane drove the get­away car for The Order, the right-wing ter­ror­ist group that in the 1980s net­ted more than $4 mil­lion in rob­beries of armored cars and mur­dered lib­er­al talk-show host Alan Berg in his Den­ver dri­ve­way. In 1995, Lane, along with wife Kat­ja and busi­ness part­ner Ron McVan, cre­at­ed Wotans­volk, a reli­gion that refers to the Chris­t­ian New Tes­ta­ment as “the Ten Com­mand­ments for racial sui­cide” and offers in its place Wotanism, which Lane described as reli­gion that “preach­es war, plun­der and sex.” Lane not­ed that Wotan, in addi­tion to being the Ger­man­ized spelling of Odin, is also the acronym of “Will Of The Aryan Nation.”

    “Wotans­volk’s name-recog­ni­tion is high among the Aryan prison pop­u­la­tion,” writes Swedish schol­ar Mat­tias Gardell, a lead­ing author­i­ty on racist Nordic pagan­ism. “Kat­ja Lane’s cam­paign­ing has con­tributed to the fact that all states now per­mit the wear­ing of a Thor’s ham­mer as a reli­gious medal­lion.” In 2001, at the height of its pop­u­lar­i­ty, Wotans­volk boast­ed a mem­ber­ship of 5,000 inmates. Today the orga­ni­za­tion is defunct, but its lav­ish­ly illus­trat­ed books remain in print and in demand among pris­on­ers who have brought state suits to pos­sess them. In con­trast with their Asatru kin, how­ev­er, the Wotanists’ claims have been uni­form­ly reject­ed by the courts, as judges say vio­lence advo­cat­ed by the reli­gion’s texts out­weigh its free speech mer­its in a prison set­ting.

    Lane remains a myth­ic hero in white pow­er cir­cles and was, until his 2007 death, the top “Aryan Pris­on­er of War,” not­ed for coin­ing the “14 words” that serve as a ral­ly­ing cry for mil­i­tant white nation­al­ists: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for White Chil­dren.” Lane’s devo­tion to Odin­ism lives on among dozens of oth­er so-called Aryan Pris­on­ers of War, white inmates lion­ized by the white pow­er move­ment for their racist activism.

    “Odin­ists rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant sub­group of white suprema­cists in prison known as the Aryan Pris­on­ers of War,” says Randy Blazak, a soci­ol­o­gist at Port­land State Uni­ver­si­ty in Ore­gon who stud­ies prison Odin­ism. For his research, Blazak has inter­viewed dozens of Aryan Pris­on­ers of War, includ­ing Lane before he died and oth­er mem­bers of The Order. “The growth of the reli­gion of Odin­ism among racist inmates has sig­nif­i­cant impli­ca­tions for the spread of hate crimes, domes­tic ter­ror­ism, racial divi­sive­ness and the desta­bi­liza­tion of prison pop­u­la­tions,” he says, not­ing that fre­quent­ly “the racist Odin­ist ide­ol­o­gy fol­lows inmates upon release.”

    Some Aryan POWs, Blazak says, embrace Odin­ism not as reli­gion but as a con­sol­ing ide­ol­o­gy in sup­port of their view that the white race is being “assault­ed and emas­cu­lat­ed by social forces.” As one inmate wrote in response to the study, “I’m of the sub­set of that com­mu­ni­ty that do not believe in lit­er­al Vikings in the sky, but do think the val­ues embod­ied in the Odin­ist ‘God-sense’ are espe­cial­ly per­ti­nent for impris­oned Cau­casians. Most pris­on­ers are vic­tims of reli­gious intol­er­ance; they’re con­vict­ed of ‘offens­es against [the idea of] the Unit­ed States.’ ”

    Aryan POWs rep­re­sent racist Odin­is­m’s vio­lent fringe, but many jail­house con­ver­sions to neo-pagan faiths are, in fact, more benign. “Some pris­on­ers see the appeal of prison Odin­ism as an avenue to win prison priv­i­leges such as time for reli­gious cer­e­monies, as well as a way to cope with prison life and soci­ety in gen­er­al,” Blazak writes. “How­ev­er, those rec­og­nized as ‘Aryan POWs’ by the white suprema­cist com­mu­ni­ty iden­ti­fy with the need for aggres­sive racist activism. … The ques­tion that remains is which end of the spec­trum attracts more inmates?”

    How many Odin­ist inmates sub­scribe to racial suprema­cy is a ques­tion that gen­er­ates more heat than light. Val­gard Mur­ray, an Asatru leader and con­sul­tant to the Fed­er­al Bureau of Pris­ons, con­tends that “less than ten per­cent are racial fanat­ics.” But in Texas, which boasts the largest prison sys­tem in the coun­try, secu­ri­ty threat group coor­di­na­tor Sigifre­do Sanchez says 90% of Odin­ist inmates are clas­si­fied as belong­ing to white suprema­cist gangs. They, like all oth­er gang mem­bers, are relo­cat­ed to sep­a­rate wings of the prison where they can­not access group reli­gious ser­vices. “It’s been my expe­ri­ence that legit­i­mate groups will car­ry some of these more racist mem­bers because it swells num­bers,” said Blazak. “Among them there’s a real seri­ous dis­like of racist pagans, but at the same time, num­bers count in prison.”

    Between the racist and non-racist believ­ers are a large num­ber of “Odin­ists until release” who join in meet­ings and make offer­ings to the gods at blots less for spir­i­tu­al­i­ty than to break up the bore­dom and iso­la­tion of prison life. “They’ve got plen­ty of time on their hands. There’s also the prac­ti­cal­i­ty of it. It gets you out of [your] cell, there may be food and drink avail­able,” says Blazak.

    Sanchez, the Texas pris­ons’ secu­ri­ty coor­di­na­tor, adds, “We have had Odin­ists for quite awhile. You have to look at the his­tor­i­cal basis. Aryan groups are look­ing for any­thing that would be ben­e­fi­cial and a place where no one will stop them from meet­ing. They’ve always tried to use a reli­gion that some­body can bond with.”

    Rune Stones or Gang Signs?
    After a two-year law­suit, the Texas Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions is nego­ti­at­ing with an inmate who is seek­ing the right to lead his own Asatru group ser­vice and use rune stones, a set of 24 small blocks or stones carved with ancient sym­bols that make up an alpha­bet. Sanchez is wary of both devel­op­ments. “Not all of our offi­cers are trained to look at runic codes,” he says. We had a guy out there who was ABT, Aryan Broth­er­hood of Texas – that’s what he had in runic type writ­ing on a tat­too. The guy was able to make it out there in gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion [and not be seg­re­gat­ed as a gang mem­ber] because the offi­cer did not rec­og­nize the runic sym­bols.” Pris­ons that use the rune-stone-as-gang-sign pol­i­cy to deny access to Odin­ists have had lit­tle sway with courts, most of whom cite the large pres­ence of Mus­lim, Jew­ish and Lati­no inmates who use Ara­bic, Hebrew and Span­ish in their ser­vices.

    Don­ald Roth­stein, who has spent more than 20 years inves­ti­gat­ing secu­ri­ty-threat groups for the Min­neso­ta cor­rec­tions sys­tem, said that Odin­ist reli­gious ser­vices, just like any reli­gious group meet­ing, pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty for him and his col­leagues to gain intel­li­gence on secu­ri­ty threats. Asatru or Odin­ist inmates are allowed to meet for group wor­ship in four of the state’s prison facil­i­ties, and they are mon­i­tored when they do. “If for some rea­son white suprema­cist inmates are hav­ing an action [and] fifty of them show up – say that’s five times the nor­mal ser­vice — we know some­thing is going on.” Roth­stein says Min­neso­ta inmates are observed based on behav­ior, not for gang or reli­gious affil­i­a­tion.

    Not all racist forms of Asatru are so dif­fi­cult to decode. In Maine, inmate Dale Wood, who referred to him­self as the “gothi,” or leader, of his Asatru group, sued the state’s prison sys­tem after his group was dis­band­ed by cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers. While inspect­ing the group’s reli­gious lock­ers, author­i­ties found pic­tures of Hitler, swastikas and the Ten Com­mand­ments from “Wotans­volk Wis­dom for Aryan Man,” a vio­lent­ly racist revi­sion of Jesus’ para­bles whose fifth com­mand­ment reads: “Cut off ZOG’s head and feed it to the dogs. Gov­ern­ment beyond the con­sent of the gov­erned is tyran­ny and theft; obe­di­ence to tyran­ny is slav­ery.”

    “Pri­or to this time, I and the oth­er prison staff thought that the prison Asatru group was reli­gious group,” said a cor­rec­tions sergeant in a court affi­davit. “I deter­mined that the Asatru group at the facil­i­ty was real­ly a white suprema­cist gang.”

    Pagan vs. pagan
    Cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers aren’t the only ones moti­vat­ed to expose sham Odin­ist groups. In 2007, Mur­ray, the Asatru leader who con­sults for the fed­er­al prison sys­tem, took the unusu­al step of tes­ti­fy­ing against Odin­ist inmates as a paid wit­ness for the State of Ohio. The case, which is still in lit­i­ga­tion, is a class action suit led by an Asatru adher­ent who believes his faith enti­tles him to more than 60 days a year off work.

    “It’s a friv­o­lous law­suit,” Mur­ray told the Intel­li­gence Report. “I’ve writ­ten the runic cal­en­dar for the fed­er­al Bureau of Pris­ons. There are only 12 rec­og­nized hol­i­days.” Oth­er neo-pagan groups have called Mur­ray a trai­tor for his action. Lau­rel Owen, the Odin­ist prison vol­un­teer from the Arkansas Ozarks, writes in a how-to guide for out­side Odin­ist vol­un­teers that there are real dan­gers involved in teach­ing Odin­ism to inmates. “Rival gang mem­bers will com­pete for your atten­tion and for a place of lead­er­ship. … You may even be asked to join a gang.” She adds, “The first day you go in, tell your group that gang affil­i­a­tions are not your busi­ness and that you don’t want to know. Tell them the impor­tant thing is this: You are there for spir­i­tu­al rea­sons, not to front for a gang.” Owen believes Odin­ism is a pos­i­tive force in inmates’ lives and she has even devel­oped an Odin­ist alter­na­tive to Alco­holics Anony­mous that is in use at two Texas pris­ons.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 2, 2013, 1:30 pm
  13. @Pterrafractyl–

    The Asatru milieu and David Lane hook up with some “inter­est­ing” ele­ments in the so-called coun­ter­cul­ture.

    Check out FTR #437.

    http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-437-counter-culture-fascism/

    The Order, of which he was a mem­ber, was financed by Ger­man “fam­i­lies” in Latin Amer­i­ca.

    Check out FTR #272.

    http://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-272-they-shall-reap-the-whirlwind/

    Best,

    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | May 2, 2013, 1:52 pm

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