A 23-year-old woman who pleaded guilty in federal court to buying a handgun for Evan Ebel, the prison parolee suspected of killing the director of Colorado’s prisons before being fatally wounded in a shootout in Wise County, was sentenced Monday to more than two years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello also sentenced Stevie Marie Anne Vigil to three years of supervised probation.
Federal prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Vigil to six years in prison for buying the 9mm Smith & Wesson gun for Ebel, who used it, they said, to kill prison chief Tom Clements on March 19 and Nathan Leon, a Denver computer technician and pizza deliveryman, two days earlier.
As he fled into Texas, Ebel used the gun again March 21 to wound Montague County Sheriff’s Deputy James Boyd, prosecutors said.
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Ebel, 28, was fatally injured in Decatur in a shootout with Texas authorities.
Although El Paso County, Colo., sheriff’s investigators have not definitively named Ebel as the gunman, they have linked the handgun Vigil purchased for Ebel to both killings and Boyd’s shooting. They have said they are continuing to investigate whether Ebel, a member of the white supremacist 211 Crew, acted alone or if the killings had gang ties.
Boyd addressed the judge Monday, describing being shot in the forehead and chest, undergoing surgery to have a titanium plate placed in his head and being left with poor balance and memory and no sense of smell.
Speaking of Vigil, Boyd said: “She should be charged not only with aggravated assault but also with the murder of two innocent victims.”
During the hearing, videos were shown from cameras mounted in the cars of Boyd and other Texas law enforcement officers who encountered Ebel. Boyd could be seen falling to the ground.
The chase that ended with Ebel’s death also was shown, and Ebel could be seen firing at deputies from his car.
Members of the Clements family had been scheduled to testify but did not, saying it would be too painful, Hosley said.
Leon’s father did testify Monday.
“Evan Ebel was an evil person,” John Leon said. “To give a weapon to an evil person … you had to expect something bad to happen.”
Leon later told reporters he believed the judge had been too lenient with the sentence.
With Ebel dead, Vigil has so far been the only person to face a criminal charge related to the prison chief’s killing. In court Monday, the judge said Ebel was clearly responsible for the crimes.
Arugello said prosecutors had failed to show Vigil knew of Ebel’s plans.
“She wanted an intimate relationship with Ebel, and he used that knowledge and information over her to get her to buy a gun that he couldn’t buy himself,” Arguello said of Vigil, calling Ebel a master manipulator who was determined to get a handgun and would have done so even if Vigil refused to provide it.
“Nothing would have deterred him. He would have found a way to carry out his longstanding plan.”
The judge also cited Vigil’s troubled childhood and nearly spotless record.
Vigil’s attorney, Daniel Smith, said his client got what she had requested.
“We were asking to be sentenced on the crimes that Ms. Vigil committed, not the crimes Mr. Ebel committed,” Smith said.