The man believed to be the one who killed Colorado's prisons chief fantasized in a letter to a friend about torturing and killing guards at the state correctional facility where he was incarcerated.
He signed it "Evil Evan Ebel."
Whether it was meant as a joke or something more sinister may never be known.
Ebel took the answer with him. He died after a shootout with authorities in northern Texas just days after, investigators say, he killed state Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements and Nathan Leon, a 22-year-old pizza deliveryman.
The letter has since become one more piece of a confusing and sometimes confounding case that unfolded after a clerical error led to Ebel's release from prison four years early.
Then, according to parole officials, it took Colorado authorities five days to discover that the parolee with ties to a white supremacist prison gang had disabled his ankle monitor and was on the loose.
The revelations have a raised a larger question: Could it all have been prevented? The answer is as confusing as the case.
Gunshot at the door
It began with the doorbell.
It was just after 8:30 p.m. on March 19 as a black Cadillac sat idling, empty, 200 yards from Clements' home in Monument, just north of Colorado Springs.
The prisons chief with a reputation for prison reforms and a crackdown on prison gangs -- including the 211 Crew, the white supremacist gang Ebel belonged to -- was home watching television with his wife, Lisa.
They weren't expecting anyone at that hour. But they had lived in the upscale community with its winding roads long enough to know that people unfamiliar with the area sometimes got lost, and sometimes rang the wrong doorbell.
Clements opened the door to find a gunman, who authorities believe may have been disguised as a pizza deliveryman.
The gunman said nothing. He just pulled the trigger, hitting the prisons chief in the chest, Clements' wife later told investigators.
She called 911, pleading for help to save her husband as he lay bleeding to death on the stairs of their home.
In the days that followed, investigators worked to develop leads, appealing to the public for help in the search for the killer.
Hundreds of miles away, in northern Texas, another part of the story was playing out, one that would link Ebel to the killings of Clements and Leon.
'A streak of cruelty'
By all accounts, Ebel came from a privileged upbringing. His father, Jack Ebel, an attorney and former oil executive, counts Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper among his friends.
"From the beginning, his son just seemed to have this bad streak, a streak of cruelty, and anger," Hickenlooper said on CNN's "State of the Union."
"They did everything they could. They tried. They worked with Evan again and again, but to no avail."
By the time most teens are in their first year of college or work after high school, Ebel was looking at hard time for armed robbery, menacing and a variety of other charges after putting a gun to the head of an acquaintance and demanding money.
Prison records show that almost from the moment Ebel began serving his eight-year sentence in 2005 at the age of 20, he proved to be a problem.
The documents paint a portrait of a volatile and, at times, dangerous inmate who threatened guards, fought with other inmates and disobeyed orders.
He was written up at least 28 times on disciplinary charges that resulted in additional days on his original sentence -- infractions that resulted in him serving more than five years in solitary confinement.