Criminal Justice, Exclusives, Open Records

DOC allowed parolee to live adjacent to former victims he had recently threatened

Prison Cells 02The Department of Corrections (DOC) placed Calvin Johnson, 44 years old, on parole in September of last year. By mid-January, he would be in the custody of the Denver Police, eventually accused of murdering a homeless man named Teodoro Leon III. What made Johnson’s situation so unique, however, is the fact that an upper-level manager in DOC held Johnson up to a group of state legislators as a model of how new parole reforms were working system-wide.

When Alison Morgan, the Deputy Director of Parole told a state Joint Judiciary Committee about Johnson’s living conditions, she said, “…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.”

While it’s true that Johnson was living near a Department of Corrections parole office near that location, those circumstances do not tell the whole story. Equally as important was the fact that Johnson was living less than 300 yards from two places he repeatedly vandalized and people he allegedly became violent with in 2005 and 2006. One of those instances led to his incarceration.

Additionally, Complete Colorado has obtained emails from the DOC via the Colorado Open Records Act that show at least one upper level manager was concerned about Johnson’s living location and how that might impact victims, but Johnson was never forced to relocate.

According to court documents, Denver Police responded to three complaints of windows being broken out at a childcare business called Family Flex located at 10th and Acoma in the summer of 2006. Family Flex is just two blocks directly West of where Johnson was camping out in a tent while on parole in 2015.

“On 07-05-06, Your Affiant received a call from victim/reporting party, (name withheld) at the Family Flex Center. (Reporting Party) was extremely upset as on the night of 07-04-06, his business was hit again, this time the suspect broke 3 more double pane windows.”

The arrest affidavit also states:

At that time, the employees at the building had several contacts with Johnson at the Conoco gas station at 10th and Broadway. Johnson would make lewd statements to the women and also came to the childcare center (Family Flex) and would pass by the fence as the children would play outside and act strangely. The victims feel as if Johnson is retaliating against them now in 2006, for being listed as the suspect (to other vandalisms) in 2005. No charges were ever filed against Johnson for the 2005 cases.

Those charges of criminal mischief for breaking windows at Family Flex would lead to a conviction, and two sentences of five years in prison, ordered to be served consecutively.

Johnson was also accused of serious crimes just one block further to the east at 10th and Broadway.

According to court documents:

As the victim, (name withheld), exited the Diamond Shamrock Corner Store at 1001 South* Broadway on July 8, 2006, the defendant was panhandling for money. The defendant asked the victim to give him money but the victim refused. After a brief exchange of words between the victim and the defendant which included the victim telling the defendant to leave him alone, the defendant punched the victim in the mouth with his fist. The defendant then pulled a sharp pointed weapon from his pocket, raised it with his right hand, and lunged at the victim in an attempt to stab him. The defendant said “I will kill you.” The victim moved quickly and was able to avoid being stabbed.

A jury acquitted Johnson of assault with a deadly weapon and felony menacing in the incident at the Diamond Shamrock.

Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson

However, the fact that Johnson had numerous incidents all clustered so close to 10th and Acoma and 10th and Broadway raises the question of why the Department would allow Johnson to build a camp in that exact spot so soon after DOC officials released him from jail after his October arrest for parole violation.

On November 10, 2015, the Assistant Director of Offender Programs Susan White emailed Parole Manager Melissa Gallardo, and said in part, “Mr. Johnson is supposedly moving to the alley behind Lincoln today which is not where we want him in regards to the victims.”

Furthermore, the chronological log which documents all contact between Johnson and DOC parole officers, case managers, etc., noted just one day before Johnson’s parole began, “(JOHNSON’S) VICTIMS ARE HEAVILY INVOLVED AND ARE FEARFUL OF HIM,” (see log, August 31).

A spokeswoman for the DOC defended their decisions, saying by email, “Mr. Johnson was located directly behind the Parole Office which ensured frequent contact with staff. This also allowed him access to charge his equipment during the time he spent on GPS (location monitor).  Any registered victims were notified of his location and were involved in setting the exclusion zones.”

And, as Complete Colorado reported yesterday, Johnson’s parole was interrupted when he was arrested in October – roughly six weeks after his parole began – by a parole officer and a parole manager for making threatening remarks against his former victims. According to an email that described the reason for the arrest, Parole Manager Andrew Zavaras said, “He is bragging about his violent history and is making statements that he should have killed his victims.”

Johnson was most recently arrested on January 14, 2016, after being accused of the murder of a homeless man, Teodoro Leon III. Leon’s body was found in the alley at 10th and Acoma. On January 20, the Denver District Attorney’s office announced charges against Johnson.

Also in the chronological log, Johnson describes one of his incidents near the area of 10th and Broadway (possibly the incident at the Diamond Shamrock, but it is not known with certainty), and made aggressive and violent remarks towards the former victims in the retelling. (See chronological log, August 20.)

The case manager said:

(SUBJCT) HAS DECIDED TO SIGN HIS PAROLE AGREEMENT.

THIS GUY SHOULD BE WATCHED CAREFULLY WHILE IN THE COMMUNITY.

ALSO WHILE TALKING TO (SUBJECT) ABOUT HIS CRIME HE TOLD CPO THAT HE WAS IN PRISON FOR CRIMINAL MISCHIEF. (SUBJECT) EXPLAINED THAT HE WAS PAN HANDLING OUTSIDE A SHOP AND WAS TOLD BY AFEMALE (sic) EMPLOYEE TO LEAVE BECAUSE HE WAS BEING PUSHY TO PEOPLE. (SUBJECT) STATED THAT HE GOT REALLY UPSET AND ANGRY AND WANTED TO KILL THE WOMEN BUT BECAUSE SHE WAS A WOMAN HE WOULD NOT DO THAT HE CAME BACK TO THE SHOP THAT NIGHT AND BROKE ALL THE WINDOWS OUTTHE (sic) SHOP.

CPO ALSO EXPLAINED RESTITUTION TO (SUBJECT) – – STATED HE WILL NOT PAY RESTITUTION.

(SUBJECT) ALSO STATED THAT IF…[LOG ENTRY ENDS, CONTINUED IN NEW ENTRY]…THIS WAS A MALE HE WOULD HAVE JUST KILLED HIM. WALKED UP STABBED HIM TO DEATH SND (sic) STATED HE FELT HE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT.

*The court document says the Diamond Shamrock is located at 1001 South Broadway. We have confirmed through the Denver District Attorney’s office that the use of the word “South” was in error, and that the incident described happened at the Diamond Shamrock at 1001 North Broadway.

Send us tips at CompleteColorado@gmail.com.

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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