TODAY

TODAY   |  April 02, 2013

Prison error freed Colo. murder suspect early

Colorado court officials are apologizing today after new documents reveal the prime suspect in the shooting death of Colorado prison chief Tom Clements last month had been released four years early due to a clerical error. NBC’s Natalie Morales reports.

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>>> there is new information in the shooting death of colorado 's prison chief and natalie is here with details on that.

>> good morning, matt and savannah. officials admit the suspected killer in the case should have been behind bars at the time, but he was released due to a clerical error.

>> i am confident they will fix the problem going forward and that it won't happen again.

>> reporter: strong words from the district attorney's office after a colorado court admitted evan ebel was released from prison four years earlier, he's accused of murdering tom clements and in a on this leon after getting out of prison. ebel died after a shoot-out with texas authorities. ebel was already in prison on an eight-year stint for burglary and car theft when he punched a prison guard in 2006 . he could have received 12 more years but in a plea deal he was sentenced in 2008 to an additional four years. in a statement from the colorado department of corrections , the court order did not specify consecutive or concurrent sentencing. that led prison officials to impose a sentence that was concurrent, meaning ebel served no additional time for punching the guard.

>> i think it's probably worth the effort to go back and make sure we don't have any other cases out there where this problem has occurred before.