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Error led to suspected killer's early release

DENVER -- A clerical error allowed the man suspected of killing Colorado's prisons chief to be released from custody about four years early, officials said Monday.

In 2008, Evan Spencer Ebel pleaded guilty in Fremont County to assaulting a prison guard. In a plea deal, Ebel was to be sentenced to up to four additional years in prison, to be served after he completed the eight-year sentence that put him behind bars in 2005, according to a statement from the 11th Judicial District.

But the judge didn't say the sentence was meant to be "consecutive," or in addition to, Ebel's current one. So the clerk recorded it as one to be served "concurrently," or at the same time. That's the information that went to state prisons, the statement said. So on Jan. 28, prisons officials saw that Ebel had finished his court-ordered sentence and released him. Two months later he was dead after a shootout with Texas authorities. -- AP

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