DENVER (CBS4) – Bob Beauprez’s campaign said it will remove a line from an attack ad that suggests incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper’s policies may have led to the murder of the state’s corrections department chief.
The line says, “Under John Hickenlooper, violent criminal Evan Ebel was released from prison and brutally killed two Coloradans.”
The attack ad, created by Republican challenger Bob Beauprez, suggests Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is releasing violent criminals like Ebel from prison, even when they threaten to kill.
Beauprez’s campaign said in a statement: “While it is a legitimate issue to raise concerns about the administration’s failure to reform parole, out of respect to the spouse of a victim of parolee violence, we have removed that specific line from our ad.”
Last year Corrections chief Tom Clements was shot and killed at the front door of his home by Ebel, a parolee. Clements was one of two Coloradans police say Ebel killed before he was killed by police in a shootout in Texas.
RELATED: Tom Clements Murder Story Archive
Late on Thursday night, the ad containing that line was still available on Beauprez’s YouTube channel.
“We’ve got a governor right now who seems to be more concerned about how criminals feel than about justice being served to the victims of crime and to the families of those victims of crime,” Beauprez said at a campaign appearance on Thursday.
Beauprez said one of the flawed policies he would oppose is allowing unsupervised leisure time for death row inmates. Another is the state’s failure to pass several public safety bills, including one that would curb earned time.
“It’s time to right the ship,” Beauprez said.
The attack ad doesn’t specifically cite Clements as one of Ebel’s victims, but his widow Lisa Clements said it reopens wounds. She released the following statement to Beauprez:
“On several occasions this year, you have attempted to use our family’s tragic loss for your personal and political gain, and we are respectfully asking you to stop.”
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia spoke for the Hickenlooper campaign in response on Thursday.
“To attack the governor on something like this and to invoke the tragedy that we faced as a state and as a cabinet, I think that really tells a lot about the character of the individual making these statements,” Garcia said.
Beauprez’s campaign told CBS4 they purposefully didn’t use Clements name in the ad. He released the following statement late Thursday afternoon:
“I grieve for the families of victims of all violent parolees. I am running for governor to do everything in my power to make sure these tragedies don’t happen to more Colorado families.”
Jefferson County District Attorney Peter Weir appeared with Beauprez at his Thursday campaign appearance and said he is concerned about the same corrections policies Beauprez is.
“I was at a community corrections board meeting this morning in Jefferson County,” Weir said. “We had individuals that received four, five and six year sentences from a judge. And we are mandated statutorily to consider them for placement after they’ve served four, five or six months.”
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