UPDATE: Confessed killer declines school board position
A confessed killer who was elected to a local school board has now declined the position.
Thomas Seaba read an emotional statement a special board meeting Monday night when he was supposed to be sworn in.
Seaba said he and his family has been getting threats. At one point, someone broke into this home, poured gasoline everywhere and left a threatening letter. He said the decision to decline the position is in the best interest of his family and the school district.
The superintendent told 11 News it is a tough situation and he's known Seaba for years, saying Seaba has had a very positive impact on the La Junta community.
A new board member will be appointed at the next meeting.
A confessed killer is now on a local school board in Colorado.
Thomas Seaba served prison time for second-degree murder. The superintendent for the school district says he was one of the top two voted on in the recent election for the East Otero School District Board of Education. Seaba was released from prison in 2010.
"It was obvious[ly] a set of horrific mistakes compounding on one another, which led to me serving time in prison," Seaba told 11 News.
Seaba spent 16 years in a North Carolina prison for murdering a fellow Marine. He told 11 News reporter Adam Uhernik he was initially arrested for first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder.
The detective on the case still remembers what happened back in 1997. Col. Worrell, who was a crime scene investigator 20 years ago, says the victim was shot once in the back of the head, and then Seaba returned later and shot him four more times.
"Anyone who shoots someone five times in the head, you know, no doubt it was a cold-blooded killing," Col. Donnie Worrell said.
According to the superintendent for the school district, Seaba's crime doesn't prevent him from running for office.
La Junta City Manager Rick Klein says he gave Seaba a second chance several years ago in the form of a job. Seaba works for the wastewater department.
"If you are a good person and something bad happened to you, or whatever, do the time but then spend the rest of your life making it right. Thomas has done that," Klein said.
A second chance Seaba says he doesn't take for granted. He says he wants to make a positive impact on his community.
"Community service runs deep in my family," explained Seaba. "It has ever since I was in the Boy Scouts."