CENTENNIAL — Prosecutors are citing the investigation into the slaying of Colorado’s prisons director as a reason to keep a Saudi national convicted of sexual abuse behind bars in the U.S.
Homaidan al-Turki, convicted in 2006 of sexually abusing his housekeeper, is seeking to be released from prison and deported to Saudi Arabia to serve probation.
During a court hearing on his request Friday, prosecutor Ann Tomsic told a judge that if al-Turki is deported, authorities would not be able to bring him back to the U.S. if investigators found a link between him and the shooting death of Tom Clements this year.
Her comments came a day after testimony suggesting that investigators haven’t found any connection.
Al-Turki’s lawyer, Norman Mueller, said his client should be allowed to serve probation at home because he’s a model inmate, is considered a low risk for reoffending and has been separated from his family for eight years.
A ruling on the latest transfer request is expected within two months.
Thursday’s testimony marked the first time corrections officials publicly acknowledged that al-Turki was investigated in Clements’ slaying. Clements was killed in March outside his home about a week after denying an earlier transfer request from al-Turki.
In an April lawsuit, al-Turki alleged that officials improperly leaked word that a “main working theory” in the murder investigation was that Clements was killed in retaliation.
Authorities say former Colorado inmate Evan Spencer Ebel was found with a gun that matched the one used to shoot Clements.
Ebel, a member of a white supremacist gang, died in a shootout with Texas authorities two days after Clements was killed.
Al-Turki’s lawyers raised the investigation of Clements’ death while questioning Angel Medina, assistant director of the Colorado Department of Corrections. Medina was not asked whether al-Turki had been formally cleared in the death.
But Medina said no misconduct was reflected on a subsequent assessment of the prisoner.
Medina did not say why al-Turki was investigated.
Paul Hollenbeck, an associate director of the state Corrections Department, testified Thursday that Clements was prepared in January to grant al-Turki’s transfer. However, the transfer was denied after an FBI agent contacted the Department of Corrections saying he had information about al-Turki, Hollenbeck said. Hollenbeck didn’t elaborate on what the agent said or why the transfer was denied.
Al-Turki is serving eight years to life in prison after his conviction on unlawful sexual contact by use of force, false imprisonment and other charges — all in the case involving his housekeeper, whom authorities say he treated as a virtual slave.
Al-Turki has denied the charges, saying he is a victim of anti-Muslim sentiment inflamed by the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Al-Turki has been transferred to a federal prison in Tucson, Ariz., in part because of the notoriety of the Clements investigation, Medina said.