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Former prisoners, gang members speak highly of Tom Clements

By Michelle San Miguel, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau/Telemundo Anchor, michelle.sanmiguel@krdo.com
Published On: Mar 28 2013 12:34:17 AM CDT

Former prisoners, gang members speak highly of Tom Clements

PUEBLO, Colo. -

Two former prisoners say they do not believe a Colorado prison gang orchestrated the murder of Tom Clements.

The prime suspect in Clements' death is Evan Ebel, who belonged to a white supremacist prison gang known as the 211 Crew. Ebel died after a shootout and police chase in Texas.

Robert Sandoval spent a total of nine years in prison, most recently for menacing with a deadly weapon. While behind bars, he met several members of the 211 Crew. He says prisoners knew not to overstep their boundaries with them.

"You violate any of their laws or their bylaws then you will be dealt with accordingly and nine out of 10 times it's either death or hospitalization," Sandoval said.

But Sandoval says he does not believe the 211 Crew was behind Clements' death. He says prisoners liked Clements.

"There was a time when inmates were spending two, three years in administrative segregation. He stopped that and he said the maximum amount of time you could spend in administrative segregation was seven months," Sandoval said.

Michael Lillie also knew members of the 211 Crew. He's been in and out of prison and spent nearly two decades in a gang in Colorado Springs. Like Sandoval, he says he liked Clements.

"He was for the prisoners. He wasn't against us," Lillie said. "He'd always say, 'Look we're gonna try to get you guys home as soon as possible,' but the thing for him was education. Do your education. Do what you're supposed to do and we'll get you home."

Even though Lillie and Sandoval are no longer in gangs, they say gang members never really get out of the gang. They fear that once they do their former gang members will come after them and possibly kill them.

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