Pastor: Clements knew risk involved with his job

Clements devoted his life to helping others

Rana Novini, Anchor/Reporter, r.novini@krdo.com
POSTED: 10:37 PM MDT Mar 20, 2013    UPDATED: 10:46 PM MDT Mar 20, 2013 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Tom Clements, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections who was murdered on Tuesday night, knew his job came with some risks.  According to the senior pastor of Woodmen Valley Chapel, the risk didn't stop Clements from devoting his life to helping inmates.

Clements was an active member of the Woodmen Valley Chapel.  Senior Pastor Matt Heard said Clements was not concerned with the risk involved with his career.

"He was more concerned about serving the state of Colorado and serving those individual inmates," Heard said.

Woodmen Valley Chapel offers a prison ministry program.  Heard said many of the inmates were shocked and saddened to hear the news of Clements' murder.

"An inmate told me that Tom looked past the prison clothing," Heard said. "He saw (the inmate) as an individual."

Authorities are investigating all possible motives and connections in Clements' murder.  One of those motives involves a Saudi Arabian man.

Last week, Clements denied Homaidan al-Turki’s application to serve the remainder of his sentence in his home country of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi man was convicted in 2006 of unlawful sexual contact by use of force, theft and extortion for sexually assaulting a housekeeper and keeping her as a virtual slave for years.

The man's application had cleared reviews by prison officials, but Clements said he denied the request because al-Turki refused to participate in sex offender rehabilitation programs.

Lt. Jeff Kramer with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office acknowledged the possible motive but said investigators are open to all motives.

"Because of the fact that Mr. Clements served in the position that he did as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, we're sensitive to the fact that there could be any number of people who may have a motive for wanting to target him for a crime such as this," Kramer said.

Sources tell our sister station in Denver, 7News, that investigators are looking through cellphone records to see who Clements was in contact with prior to the shooting.  The source said the meeting might have been prearranged.