DENVER (AP) – The wife of Colorado’s slain prisons chief says she could become enraged that a clerical error led to the early release of the parolee suspected in her husband’s death, but she chooses not to make it a focus.
Lisa Clements said on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” Thursday that being angry won’t bring back her husband.
Clements has said she and her husband were watching television the night of March 19 when the doorbell rang. Tom Clements was shot after answering the door.
Lisa Clements told CNN about the trauma of his death but provided no specifics about the shooting.
When asked what she wants people to know about her husband, Lisa Clements cited a Bible passage that describes light bursting through when darkness “overtakes the godly.”
“I think that scripture captures exactly what I would like people to know about Tom. That that horrific night and, you know, the sound of that doorbell and all that happened was just unmentionable darkness,” she said. “But I trust that people will see light coming through. They’ll see that a man lived a good life and people’s lives were impacted by that.”
Tom Clements joined the Colorado Department of Corrections in January 2011. His wife is a psychologist who oversees Colorado’s state mental health institutes.
Lisa Clements has said her husband of 28 years believed in the human capacity to change for the better and be “redeemed.”
“Tom loved to say that 97 percent of folks in prison will be our neighbors one day,” Lisa Clements told KUSA. “That was part of his everyday belief.”
The man suspected in Clements’ death, Evan Ebel, was released from in January, four years earlier than prosecutors intended.
Ebel was sentenced to a combined eight years in prison for a series of assault and menacing convictions in 2005. He was supposed to serve a four-year sentence on top of that after assaulting a prison officer. But because a judge didn’t say the sentence was to be served after his original term was finished, Ebel’s new sentence was recorded as running simultaneously.
“For the rest of my days, I could be angry that someone made a mistake and didn’t capture what a judge conveyed verbally, but it won’t bring Tom back and it’s _ and then my life is lost in that and my ability to be a good mother to my children, so, so I choose not to make it a focus,” Lisa Clements told CNN.
Denver police suspect Ebel also was involved in the killing of pizza deliveryman Nathan Leon, whose body was found two days before Tom Clements was killed.
Ebel died after a March 21 shootout with Texas authorities.
Investigators have said they don’t know whether a pizza box and Domino’s Pizza uniform found in his car were used to get Clements to open his front door.
Clements’ wife and two daughters said they want to focus on Clements’ life.
“I think I would like people to see how he lived his life, and that that is so much more important than how he died,” daughter Rachel Clements told CNN. “He lived his life with such passion and compassion for other people.”
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