Authorities investigating last month’s killing of Colorado Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements settled on a suspect weeks ago. But the case hasn’t been closed.Evan Ebel, a 28-year-old parolee with a long criminal record and ties to a white supremacist prison gang, the 211 Crew, died after a shoot-out with Texas sheriff’s deputies just days after Clements’ killing. Authorities later determined that Ebel had been carrying the gun that had been used to kill Clements.
According to an article published late Monday by The Denver Post, investigators still don’t have an answer for why Ebel may have killed Clements, and are looking at whether he had help. And, in that context, the name Homaidan al-Turki has resurfaced.
Media reports in the days following Clements’ killing speculated that the crime was connected to al-Turki, a Saudi national serving time for a 2006 conviction for what the Post described as keeping a woman as a sex slave for years. Earlier in March, Clements had written a letter informing al-Turki that he was denying al-Turki’s request to serve out the remainder of his sentence in Saudi Arabia.
According to the Post, FBI agents are investigating “any possible financial transactions between al-Turki and 211 Crew members to determine whether he had hired the gang for protection, among other things.” Investigators are also interviewing “al-Turki associates who run errands for him outside of prison,” one source told the paper.
Al-Turki’s attorney, Hal Haddon, confirmed to the Post that investigators had questioned his client’s associates, but called the allegations that al-Turki was tied to Clements killing the product of “outrageous” speculation. On April 8, Haddon and the rest of al-Turki’s legal team filed a lawsuit alleging that al-Turki had been mistreated and isolated in prison after Clements’ death. Haddon told the paper that within an hour of the killing in March, he had received a call from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s chief legal counsel, Jack Finlaw.
“Finlaw placed a ‘pretext call’ to Haddon purporting to convey this news and seeking to elicit information which could link Mr. Al-Turki and his lawyers to the murder,” the lawsuit states, according to the Post.
Haddon said he asked Finlaw what the call was for, but Finlaw declined to answer. Finlaw, meanwhile, has denied Haddon’s version of events, saying her merely left a message for Haddon informing him of Clements’ death out of “courtesy.” When TPM contacted Hickenlooper’s office on Tuesday, we were provided with the same statement from Finlaw that was given to the Post.
“Hal Haddon was one of the many people I called that night to alert them to the news of Tom’s death,” Finlaw’s statement read. “I knew that Hal had been working on a legal matter with Tom, and I thought Hal deserved the courtesy of hearing this tragic news before it hit the media. That was the only reason for my call. I left Hal a voice mail. Hal returned the call a few days later and left a message. We did not talk either time.”
Haddon did not respond to a call from TPM.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office told the Post that al-Turki remains of interest to the Clements’ case.
“I don’t think that is a chapter that has been closed,” Lt. Jeff Kramer, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said.
Adrienne Jacobson, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Corrections, told TPM on Tuesday evening that al-Turki had been put in protective isolation that morning after receiving “unwanted media scrutiny.” (He spent time in protective isolation following the earlier reports linking him to the case.) Following standard procedure, al-Turki was then interviewed by officials, to determine if he felt safe in the general population. Al-Turki indicated that he did.
“He is being moved back to general population at this time,” Jacobson told TPM on Tuesday.