DENVER (AP) – A woman accused of providing the gun used to kill Colorado’s prisons chief and a Denver-area man was arrested Friday after she was indicted on a federal charge.
Stevie Vigil, 22, was taken into custody without incident during a court hearing after a federal grand jury charged her with knowingly giving a firearm to Evan Ebel, the sole suspect in the March 19 slaying of state corrections chief Tom Clements.
Prosecutors in Arapahoe County, who withdrew a similar state charge against Vigil during Friday’s hearing, say she bought a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun March 8 and gave it to Ebel, a convicted felon.
“Transferring a gun to a convicted felon is a serious federal crime, period, full-stop,” U.S. Attorney John Walsh said, adding that state and federal prosecutors would work together to pursue the case.
Vigil’s attorney, Normando Pacheco, said he did not know why prosecutors decided to withdraw state charges right before his client’s trial, which was set to begin Monday.
“I’ve been practicing law since 1974, and this is the first time I saw it this late in the game,” he said.
Pacheco has argued that Vigil was forced to buy the gun for Ebel, who he has described as “wicked.”
Prison officials say Ebel was released on parole Jan. 28 — four years early because of a clerical error. He then removed the monitoring ankle bracelet he was required to wear.
Clements, 58, was shot when he answered the door of his home in Monument, and Ebel, 28, was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers in Texas days later.
Authorities also believe he was involved in the shooting death of Nathan Leon two days before Clements was killed. Leon was a computer technician and pizza deliveryman in the Denver area.
By THOMAS PEIPERT, Associated Press
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