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DENVER (AP) -- A clerical error allowed the man suspected of killing Colorado's prisons chief to be released from custody about four years early.

Court administrators acknowledged the error in a statement Monday. They said that in 2008, Evan Spencer Ebel pleaded guilty to assaulting a prison guard. He was supposed to spend four additional years in prison.

A court clerk failed to note that the sentence was supposed to be served after the one Ebel was already serving. As a result, prison records showed it should run at the same time as the eight-year assault sentence Ebel was already serving. He was released on January 28.

Ebel was killed in a shootout in Wise County, Texas on March 21, shortly after he wounded a Montague County deputy.

Ebel was using the same gun that was used to kill prisons chief Tom Clements days earlier.

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