The fundamental tenet of medicine is "first do no harm." We should expect the same from our Attorney General. I believe that Attorney General John Suthers violated this fundamental tenet of his job when he approved the early release of felon Scott Kimball, who then went on to murder four people, including a 16 year old girl.
Early release with no oversight
When the FBI requested to release Scott Kimball from prison to operate unsupervised as an informant, that required the approval of the U.S. Attorney, John Suthers. The requirement is very specific: the U.S. Attorney himself must approve the action. It is a fundamental responsibility of the U.S. Attorney to verify that the early release will lead to information that is worth the risk, and that the convicted felon is under adequate supervision. What did John Suthers do? From the Denver Post, in his own words:
"It's possible that at a briefing meeting they would have said, at the request of the FBI we've transferred a guy down here and we're working with him as an informant or something," Suthers said of the regular meetings he held with officials in his office. "But I have no knowledge of that, and it appears I had no meetings about the case or anything, and I have no recollection of any involvement in the case."
Suthers said that he might have signed the documents as part of the administrative work brought to him by deputy attorneys.
Scott Kimball was arrested for a parole violation at the request of the State of Washington. But at the request of John Suthers' office, they dropped the charge. As reported by Fox news:
FOX31 News has learned that Suthers' team called --what sources describe as-- a secret summit conference. It was held on June 20, 2003. The FBI, DEA, Denver Police and four people from Suthers' office were there.
Insiders say Denver Police were skeptical, but Suthers' office prevailed and once again Kimball was set free.
Within the next few months, he killed Kaysi McLeod and his uncle, Terry Kimball. His family believes he tried to kill his own son and investigators believe he tortured and killed another young woman. Yet the next month, Suthers' team was back in court telling the judge, who was increasingly "troubled" over the way Kimball was being handled, that they had him on "a very tight leash."
"Well, he wasn't on a tight leash. As far as we can tell from looking at the records, really, nobody was paying attention to anything that was happening," says Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett.
What did the FBI get from Kimball?
"I never gave them any useful information," Kimball says.
Four (or more) innocent people dead, people who would be alive if John Suthers had exercised any judgment, and for it nothing.
Why did the early release for Scott Kimball happen?
Why did the FBI ask for an early release? Why did John Suthers approve an early release? Because "he claimed his cellmate planned to arrange for the murder of a witness in a drug case." That's right, a convicted con man claimed he was asked to murder a witness and that was sufficient for the FBI and John Suthers to spring him - unsupervised. This was completely brain dead - anyone in prison is willing to lie to get out. Approving this showed zero judgment.
Should they have known better?
While releasing Scott Kimball based on an unverified statement was clearly dumb, John Suthers claims that they had no reason to believe Scott Kimball would commit additional felonies upon release? Really? That statement shows additional poor judgment.
- Judge John Henson on sentencing Scott Kimball to 10 years in prison said: "The Defendant is impossible to supervise in a community setting... Because of the Defendant's character and attitude, the Defendant is likely to commit another crime."
- From the Spokane Washington Police Department: "Scott Kimball's ex-wife, Larissa Hentz, makes a second rape report against him. She tells Spokane, Wash., police that he broke into her house with the help of a locksmith friend, pressed a gun to her head while she lay sleeping, and raped her repeatedly."
And even more may have been missed
And it gets worse. It looks like Scott Kimball could be responsible for several other murders here in Colorado. Murders that, if he had been caught, would have precluded subsequent killings. Scott Kimball could be the largest mass-murderer in state history.
- The FBI is investigating Scott as a potential suspect in several unsolved disappearances.
- Westminster Police are investigating if Scott Kimball murdered Catrina Powell in 2004.
- A Denver Post article led authorities to investigate if Scott Kimball murdered Peggy Hettrick in 1987 (yes, the Denver Post had to lead John Suthers' office to this investigation).
- A Fox 31 story led authorities to investigate if Scott Kimball murdered 7-year-old Tracy Neef in 1984 (yes, Fox News had to lead John Suthers' office to this investigation).
I understand that life is imperfect, and even the best of us makes mistakes. I understand that things that are clear in hindsight can be a lot more opaque at the time decisions must be made. And investigating criminals requires dealing with other criminals, who tend to be low-life scum. That's the world we have to work with.
But this goes so far beyond that. By any measure this was gross incompetence. By any measure this was a combination of zero judgment, no follow-through, and an inability to see clear evidence of Scott Kimball's involvement in murder after murder. And the key person at the center of this total cluster-fuck is John Suthers.
If we are to hold our elected officials accountable, if we are to insist on minimal competence, then we must vote John Suthers out of office. Not just to require accountability, but also for our own safety.
If John Suthers is reelected then there are no consequences for actions in office.