Prison gang threatened judge in connection with probe of superintendent’s slaying
by Martha Neil
A Colorado judge who signed search warrants to be used in an ongoing probe of the slaying of the state’s prison superintendent went into hiding for at least two weeks after allegedly being threatened by 211 Crew gang members, investigators say.
El Paso County Judge Jonathan Walker resumed the bench this week, but the situation highlights the danger posed by members of the prison gang, which has ties to drug trafficking and white supremacists, reports the ABC News.
“They want to kill cops, people from district attorney’s office, anybody that represents law enforcement,” said investigator Bobby Brown of the 211 Crew. “They are vicious. They are for real.”
Investigators are pursuing a theory that the killing of a pizza delivery driver in the Denver area earlier this year is tied to the killing of state prisons chief Tom Clements a short time later and that former Colorado prisoner Evan Ebel, who died in a shootout with law enforcement officers in Texas earlier this year, is responsible for both slayings, the Denver Post reports. The article relies on unidentified sources for the information, which the newspaper says is contained in sealed court documents, and says that 211 Crew may have ordered the assassination of Clements.
Another Denver Post article, which relies on an anonymous source, said the judge’s life was threatened by 211 Crew members and that he was advised to move out of his home because it was easily accessible on a busy street. He also reportedly purchased a gun and began wearing a bulletproof vest after several individuals, including a former client, warned of death threats.
No comment from the judge is included in the articles. However, a former department of corrections parole director, Tim Hand, confirmed that he also had been targeted in a 211 Crew assassination plot revealed by intercepted correspondence among gang members.
“My name came out as one of those persons they wanted,” he told the Post.
An earlier ABAJournal.com post provides additional details about the investigation. At one point, there was speculation that Ebel could have been involved in the slaying of a Texas prosecutor, but a fired justice of the peace has since been charged with capital murder in that case.