CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)- A woman accused of helping a felon get a gun appeared before a judge on Thursday. Police believe Stevie Vigil bought a gun and gave it to a man suspected of killing Colorado’s prison chief.
Evan Ebel was killed in a shootout in Texas after a high-speed chase and shooting at law enforcement. Ebel is believed to have shot and killed Tom Clements, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, last week.
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.
Stevie Marie Vigil, 22, was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of an alleged illegal transfer of a firearm in early March. The arrest was based on information developed during the course of the investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation; the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Englewood Police Department; and the Denver Police Department.
Vigil’s hands and feet were bound by a waist shackle. Security inside and outside the courtroom had been increased with nine Arapahoe County Sheriff’s deputies dedicated to her first vigil in court.
Authorities have not stated whether the increased presence of law enforcement is linked to Ebel’s membership in a white supremacist gang.
The judge kept Vigil’s bond at $25,000 and ordered a mandatory protection order so she cannot make contact with anyone involved in the case or victim’s families.
The arrest affidavit and warrant have been sealed.
Vigil faces one count of unlawful purchase of a firearm, a felony. She faces a potential penalty of anywhere between two and 16 years in prison and fines ranging from $500 to $2,000.
Vigil’s cousin, Victor 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 will be back in court April 30.