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Colorado authorities probe how much gun buyer knew

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, March 28, 2013, 3:52 p.m.
 

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Investigators are looking into how much the woman who allegedly bought the gun used to kill Colorado's corrections director Tom Clements knew about the slaying, authorities said Thursday.

Stevie Marie Vigil, 22, is accused of buying the gun in early March at a gun shop in Englewood and later giving it to Evan Ebel, a felon who was barred from possessing a firearm. She was arrested late Wednesday and was being held on $25,000 bond.

Ebel, who died after a shootout in Texas last week, is suspected in the shooting deaths of Clements on March 19 and of pizza deliveryman Nathan Leon two days before.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Leon was killed for his uniform with the intent of persuading Clements to open his front door. They haven't determined yet whether Ebel, 28, acted alone but say the Smith & Wesson 9 mm he used in Texas is the same gun used to kill Clements.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Joe Roybal said investigators are looking into whether Vigil knew about what Ebel was planning to do with the gun.

Vigil made her first court appearance Thursday in Arapahoe County dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit. Her hands were cuffed and her feet shackled.

Vigil faces one count of unlawful purchase of a firearm, a felony which carries a penalty of between two and 16 years in prison.

The statute makes it illegal for someone to buy a firearm to transfer to a person that they know or should know isn't legally allowed to have a firearm. Vigil has no criminal record in Colorado so she would be able to pass a background check to buy a gun.

Mark Hurlbert, assistant district attorney for Arapahoe County, declined to comment on whether there were any other charges being considered against Vigil or whether she was suspected of being a part of a conspiracy.

Vigil's lawyer, Normando Pacheco, left the hearing without comment.

It's not clear how Vigil and Ebel knew each other.

Most documents in the case have been sealed, including an arrest affidavit that details the events leading to Virgil's arrest. Unlike other states, the sealing of court records is increasingly common in high profile cases that are under investigation.

A judge is scheduled to consider the evidence against Vigil at a hearing on April 30.

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