LA JUNTA, Colo. (AP) — A man recently elected to a school board in southern Colorado spent more than a decade in prison in North Carolina for murder.
Thomas Seaba first discussed the conviction this week with KKTV and said he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for shooting and killing a fellow Marine in 1997. According to North Carolina prison records, Seaba was released in March 2010 after serving nearly 13 years in prison. He was on parole until December 2010.
Col. Donnie Worlow of the Onslow Country Sheriff's Office in North Carolina told the station that investigators determined the victim was shot once in the back of the head, then Seaba returned and shot him four more times.
Seaba says he made "a set of horrific mistakes."
"It's a part of me that I think of every single day," Seaba later told KOAA-TV . "It's something that I don't publicly address. Who goes around talking about the worst moments of their life?"
Seaba said he moved back to his hometown of La Junta in southeast Colorado after being released from prison and worked for the city as a landscaper. He now runs the city's water and wastewater department, KOAA-TV reported.
City and school officials in the area told local media that they found nothing in state law that prevented Seaba from running for office.
Colorado law says anyone convicted of sexual offenses against a child is ineligible for school board seats but doesn't mention other convictions. State law says people with felony convictions can vote after completing their sentence, including parole.
"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," La Junta City Manager Rick Klein told KKTV. "Thomas has done that."
Seaba told KOAA-TV that he ran for a seat on the East Otero School District board because he wanted to give something back.
"It's my hometown, born and raised here and I love this community, I love the valley," he said.