DENVER — The man suspected in the death of Colorado's prisons chief threatened to kill a guard while he was in prison, the beginning of a long history of misconduct behind bars, according to his prison record released to The Associated Press on Thursday after an open records request.
Within nine months of entering prison in 2005, Evan Spencer Ebel misbehaved so badly he was placed in solitary confinement, the documents show. He spent much time there because of continued threats and attacks against prison workers and other inmates.
Ebel had a swastika tattooed on his body, joined a white supremacist gang, and was nicknamed "Ebel Evil."
Ebel, 28, died last week after a shootout with Texas authorities. Authorities are investigating whether he's linked to the death of Tom Clements, the director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, who was shot and killed at his home March 19, and the killing of a pizza deliveryman two days earlier.
According to his prison record, Ebel got into a fight within a day of arriving at his first permanent prison in 2005. Prison officials blacked out the part of the document that says whom he fought with.
Six months later, he told a female guard "that he would kill her if he ever saw her on the streets, and that he would make her beg for her life," according to the record.
Shortly after that, he was placed in solitary confinement.
Ebel was enrolled in two programs aimed at helping prisoners get out of solitary, but he was kicked out both times because of disciplinary problems. The most recent attempt came in October 2011 when Ebel joined the "Thinking for a Change" program. Documents say he was removed after completing 15 of the required 20 classes.
Ebel was in solitary confinement when he was released from Sterling Correctional Facility on Jan. 28, his mandatory parole date under the law.
His records flagged him as very high risk, with a high chance of re-offending.
It's not clear what he did between his release and his death last week in the shootout in Texas.
The gun Ebel used in the shootout was matched to the one used to kill Clements. Authorities say he got the weapon from Stevie Marie Vigil, 22, who bought it in early March at a gun shop in Englewood.
As a felon, Ebel was barred from possessing a firearm. Vigil was arrested late Wednesday and was being held on $25,000 bail.
El Paso County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Joe Roybal said investigators are looking into whether Vigil knew what Ebel was planning to do with the gun.
Vigil had known Ebel for years, and the two had been hanging out after he was released from prison, according to her cousin, Victor Baca.
Baca said Thursday he doesn't know why she may have bought the gun. He says Ebel may have intimidated her, or she may have felt she needed it for protection. He described Vigil as a good, hardworking girl studying to be a nurse who isn't fond of guns.
Vigil made her first court appearance Thursday in Arapahoe County dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit. Her hands were cuffed and her feet shackled. She faces one count of unlawful purchase of a firearm, a felony which carries a penalty of between two and 16 years in prison.
The statute makes it illegal for someone to buy a firearm to transfer to a person that they know or should know isn't legally allowed to have a gun. Vigil has no criminal record in Colorado, so she would be able to pass a background check to buy a gun.
Mark Hurlbert, assistant district attorney for Arapahoe County, declined to comment on whether there were any other charges being considered against Vigil or whether she was suspected of being a part of a conspiracy.
Vigil's lawyer, Normando Pacheco, left the hearing without comment.
Most documents in the case have been sealed, including an arrest affidavit that details the events leading to Virgil's arrest. Unlike other states, the sealing of court records is increasingly common in high profile cases that are under investigation.
A judge is scheduled to consider the evidence against Vigil at a hearing April 30.