On February 3, Complete Colorado reported that parolee Calvin Johnson had been arrested and released in October of last year by the Department of Corrections (DOC). The arrest and release happened just weeks before DOC Deputy Director of Parole Alison Morgan held Johnson up to lawmakers as a model of parole reforms, and just months before he would ultimately be arrested again and accused of the New Year’s Day murder of Teodoro Leon III.
At the time of our February 3 report, the only information available regarding Mr. Johnson’s arrest was that he was being “aggressive and intimidating” and that this had “become a pattern of behavior with this offender.”
New documents obtained by Complete Colorado show that a DOC parole supervisor arrested Johnson for making threatening statements against his former victims and bragging about his capacity for violence.
Compounding the seriousness of Johnson’s threats was the fact that, while on parole, Johnson later began living within about 250 yards of a business he repeatedly vandalized in 2006. Johnson had been in prison for property crimes he committed against a day care facility called Family Flex located at 10th and Acoma.
According to emails obtained via Colorado open records laws, parole supervisor Andrew Zavaras explained the arrest by saying, “(Johnson) was arrested because he was being aggressive and intimidating with program staff everywhere he went. Yesterday it was (redacted) that refused to work with him because of his behavior. He was kicked out of the (redacted) program recently for the same reason. He is bragging about his violent history and is making statements that he should have killed his victims.”
Questions posed to DOC staff on February 8 and February 16 via email have not yet been returned.
Zavaras’ emails shed more light on the arrest, given that Johnson made a similar statement while still incarcerated but roughly two weeks away from being released on parole. (See timeline, Aug 20).
CALVIN JOHNSON TIMELINE
Jan 20 – Denver District Attorney charges Johnson with 1st Degree Murder of Teodoro Leon.
Jan 1 – Transient man Teodoro Leon III murdered in an alley near 10th and Acoma.
Dec 16 – Deputy Director of Parole Alison Morgan speaks to a meeting of the Joint Judiciary Committee of the General Assembly. In that discussion, Morgan held up Johnson as a model of how parole reforms were working, saying:
I’d like to tell you briefly about a, a parolee that, um, has some significant mental health issues. He, uh, was acting out. He was threatening staff. He, uh, he has coped through his time in prison and on parole by threatening and being aggressive.
And his thought was to do this again to hopefully um be revoked because he didn’t want to be accountable and he didn’t want to be on parole.
And our community-based organizations came together and the parole officer came together, uh, the mental health specialist, and we all sat down. And we came up with a plan to, to really challenge this parolee to try. And we, um, we each pooled a little bit of money and commitment to, to work with this parolee to launch him to be successful.
Um, he didn’t completely like the idea of the plan we put together for him and he tried to play us off of each other. And we all came back together again and said yeah it’s not to work that way.
And ultimately he chose to, um, actually buy a tent, and he’s living in the alley behind our Lincoln Street parole office, but he’s figuring it out on his own.
But it was a tremendous collaboration between parole, mental health, and the community-based organizations. And, and that’s how all of this is working, really very successfully.
Dec 03 – Notes from the DOC chronological log say, “CPS GALLARDO STATED SHE SPOKE WITH DEPUTY DIRECTOR MORGAN* AND THE EMAIL READ, “…WE NEED TO DO OUR VERY BEST TO CONTINUE WORKING WITH HIM.” (emphasis added)
Dec 02 (2) – Less than an hour after the incident at the urinalysis clinic is first noted on the chronological logs, a new log entry details a conversation in which Johnson tells a DOC employee that his “THREATS AND AGGRESSION WAS EMPTY TOWARDS STAFF AND THAT HE DOESN’T PLAN ON HURTING ANYONE.”
Dec 02 (1) – Johnson goes to clinic for routine urinalysis test. Chronological log notes say Johnson got extremely agitated, began insulting staff with offensive sexual language and remarks. According to the logs, Johnson also told a female staffer he had a gun.
Nov 12 – Johnson gets into argument at Army Surplus store while trying to buy a tent.
Oct 27 – Johnson released from October 13 arrest.
Oct 13 – Johnson arrested by DOC Parole Supervisor Andrew Zavaras. Departmental emails from Zavaras explained his rationale for arresting Johnson in an email by saying:
He was arrested because he was being aggressive and intimidating with program staff everywhere he went. Yesterday it was (redacted) that refused to work with him because of his behavior. He was kicked out of the (redacted) program recently for the same reason. He is bragging about his violent history and is making statements that he should have killed his victims.” (emphasis added).
September 10 – Notes from the DOC chronological log say, “(Johnson) SAID HE MIGHT HAVE TO DO WHAT HE HAS TO DO AND MAY GO BACK.”
September 1 – Johnson released on parole.
August 31 – Prior to Johnson’s release, chronological notes from DOC say, “HIS VICTIMS ARE HEAVILY INVOLVED AND ARE FEARFUL OF HIM.”
August 20 – Notes from the DOC chronological log say,
THIS GUY SHOULD BE WATCHED CAREFULLY WHILE IN THE COMMUNITY… …(JOHNSON) EXPLAINED HE WAS PAN HANDLING OUT SIDE A SHOP AND WAS TOLD BY AFEMALE (sic) TO LEAVE BECAUSE HE WAS BEING PUSHY TO PEOPLE.
…(JOHNSON) ALSO STATED THAT IF THE EMPLOYEE WAS A MALE…HE WOULD HAVE JUST KILLED HIM. WALKED UP AND STABBED HIM TO DEATH AND STATED HE FELT HE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT.
August 19 – Johnson refuses to sign parole agreement.
August 18 – Notes from the DOC chronological log Johnson again requests to self-revoke.
July 13 – Notes from DOC chronological log say that Johnson requested to self-revoke, and asked to serve, “HIS ENTIRE PAROLE TERM IN FACILITY. STATES HE WILL NOT COMPLY WITH TREATMENT CLASSES.”
Feb 19 – Chronological log from DOC notes Johnson interaction with (job description), where Johnson pleads for DOC officials to recognize his violent behavior:
I met with JOHNSON on 2/10/15 and 2/17/15 to discuss grievances he filed with the library. I encouraged him to progress, so he can go to the Library on his own. Today, I received a [email] from JOHNSON stating, ‘You keep saying the same thing over and over that I should go to general population. You should really research my records before you get stuck on statements like that because I’m barely avoiding having to be violent where I’m at now and I’m on a special tier. It’s not like I have a choice. Most inmates are born the way they are and I was born the way I am and the only way I mix with most of them is violently. I can’t help or change that. It’s not within anybody’s power to change that. It’s just the way it will always be.’ I responded with an inspirational quote about change being up to him and told him he controls his destiny.
Johnson given five year sentence on two separate counts. Sentences to be served consecutively, effectively meaning he is sentenced to 10 years in DOC custody.
*In the original version of the chronological log obtained by Complete Colorado, the name of “DEPUTY DIRECTOR ALISON MORGAN” was redacted. DOC spokeswoman Laurie Kilpatrick said the redaction was an error because someone being trained to process open records requests had been overly zealous in redacting private names.
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Correction: Based on early press releases from the Denver Police Department and Denver District Attorney, the first edition of this article incorrectly identified the victim of the alleged murder as Leon Teodora. The victim’s name is Teodoro Leon III.
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