Update, 6:07 p.m. Eastern: In a stunning development heating up and perhaps finishing the cold case of the point-blank shooting death of Colorado Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements — but not before a sex-slave letter and the Islamic faith get dragged into this — authorities in Texas's Wise County said late Thursday afternoon that investigators were trying to "establish a connection" between the murder in Colorado and a wild chase on a Texas highway. According to the Denver Post, a man armed with a handgun fired at Texas police while driving a black Cadillac (which could match the description of the car in question, per scant public clues below) got into a firefight before he was shot by deputies with the Wise County Sheriff's office and taken to a hospital, where the suspect was declared "brain dead."
The connection is under investigation by authorities in both states, but ABC news reported Thursday that Clements was a "target," according to Colorado police, adding that Clements had denied a request to Saudi Arabian prisoner Homaidan al-Turki, citing in a letter his refusal, based on conflicts with his Islamic faith, to seek sex-offender treatment. It seems al-Turki was charged with sexual assault of his housekeeper, whom he allegedly forced to sleep on a mattress in his basement as a kind of sex slave working for $2 per day. Many were upset that Gov. John Hickenlooper had supported moving al-Turki in light of religious preferences, but Clements had sent the letter denying the request on March 11. —Matt Sullivan
Original Post: According to police, a mysterious speed-walker who disappeared in the dark of night might help them figure out who killed Tom Clements, the 58-year-old chief of Colorado's Department of Corrections shot Tuesday night at his front door. Without many clues, police have even started looking into a Craigslist ad Clements posted on Tuesday, trying to sell his mountain bike. But the main vehicle connected to the murder of the state prison boss is still a "shiny" Lincoln-style car "with green dashboard lights," reports Denver's ABC affiliate, adding that information about the car could come from a woman apparently seen speed-walking near Clements's home just before the time of the shooting. The Associated Press reports that "she may have seen the suspect" and that she "was wearing light pants, a dark windbreaker and possibly a hat."
So: One of the most high-profile law enforcement officials in Colorado has been killed at point-blank range after answer his doorbell, and law enforcement hopes currently rest on a windbreaker wearing speed-walker. But the investigation is ongoing, and the Clements case is a tough one: The 31-year veteran of the corrections department in Missouri had moved to Colorado just two years ago, had no "beef" to speak of, and no one saw the gunman in an incident where robbery has been ruled out by investigators and the victim's family members were left unharmed. According to statements made by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper just before he signed key gun-control legislation into law on Wednesday, an "act of intimidation" has been made.
Aside from the speed-walker, the ABC affiliate brings word of a Craigslist ad that Clements apparently placed online the day of his killing, trying to sell his $1,200 Kona Hei Hei bicycle. "The advertisement lists Tom as the contact person, and a phone number also posted tracks back to Clements," reports KMGH's Tak Landrock, adding that "sources close to the investigation" say Clements "might have had a pre-arranged meeting with the person who came to his door Tuesday night." (Though, if Clements's murder was about over a mountain-bike transaction gone bad, that wouldn't exactly add up with police reports that nothing was stolen.) Of course, the ABC affiliate and its sources may be starting to connect the dots that whoever wanted to kill Clements might have gotten his information by sifting through Craigslist. Landrock writes:
CALL7 Investigators have called the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and a spokesman said investigators are aware of the posting and are looking into it.
Lt. Jeff Kramer said, "I can't speak to the efforts behind this tip, or the level we are giving it."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.