Suthers defends himself in informant flap

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State Attorney General John Suthers says he doesn’t remember signing off on the transfer eight years ago of an inmate who went on to kill four people.

Suthers, a U.S. attorney at the time, said he wasn’t fully briefed before approving the 2002 transfer of Scott Kimball, an inmate who was released to become an FBI informant.

Suthers signed documents transferring Kimball to Colorado from Alaska, where he serving time for check fraud. The Denver Post reported Sunday on Suthers’ involvement, and Suthers told the Post for Tuesday’s editions that he wasn’t fully briefed on Kimball and doesn’t remember signing what appeared to be a routine transfer.

“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. “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, a Republican, is seeking a second term as Colorado’s attorney general. His likely opponent, Democrat Stan Garnett, prosecuted Kimball and said Suthers was derelict in signing the transfer.

“To give this kind of guy with four prior felonies this kind of bond and freedom so he could go and commit these murders is unbelievable,” said Garnett, currently the Boulder district attorney.

Suthers said he doesn’t remember any signs Kimball would pose a public threat.

“A prison transfer of a guy from Alaska for check fraud would not have been something that would have gotten in front of the U.S. attorney,” Suthers said. “This was not something that was on the front burner.”

Suthers blames the FBI for seeking Kimball’s release on bond to service a federal informant. Suthers called the case “one of the most tragic miscalculations that I’ve seen by the FBI and apparently condoned by the U.S. attorney’s office.”

In 2002, Kimball convinced the FBI that he could provide valuable information about a murder-for-hire case. The FBI then sought his release as a paid informant from a federal penitentiary in Littleton. He went on to kill three women – LeAnn Emry, Jennifer Marcum and Kaysi McLeod – and his uncle, Terry Kimball, over the next 20 months.

- Associated Press