"I didn't even know Evan was out," Hickenlooper said, adding that he called the Ebel family a short time later.
The Ebels, according to Hickenlooper, were devastated by the news.
The governor said he never intervened on behalf of the younger Ebel, and he said Jack Ebel never made such a request.
Lengthy prison record
In 2003, at the age of 18, Evan Ebel was charged with felony armed robbery after brandishing a gun and threatening to kill a man unless he handed over his wallet, court documents show.
"I'm not playing. ... This is not a joke," Ebel said as he pointed a gun at the victim's head, according to witness statements at the time.
Ebel pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to three years in prison, serving just over a year.
Just months after his release, he was arrested again. This time for felony menacing, robbery and assault. He pleaded guilty to those charges in 2005 and was sentenced to another three years in prison.
In 2006, while in prison, Ebel was charged with assaulting a detention officer, records show. He pleaded guilty and received an additional four years on his sentence.
Ebel spent five years of his sentence in solitary confinement, Hickenlooper said.
While the governor said he never discussed the younger Ebel by name, Hickenlooper did say he told Clements that he knew someone in solitary confinement.
That person, the governor told KUSA, was Ebel.
"One of the things I told Tom Clements was that his family was concerned that it was doing more harm that good," he said.
That statement is supported by Ebel's mother, Jody Mangue, who detailed a visit with her son in a post on memorial website she created for her 16-year-old daughter, who was killed in a car accident in 2004.
"Evan is in Canon City, Colorado in CSP, the state prison. He has over three more years left. He has pretty much been in solitary confinement for 5 years. How he has managed this ceases to amaze me, but he has used his time wisely and is quite disciplined, conditioned," she wrote.
"When we visit, I sit across from him, he in a chair on the other side of the thick glass. He is brought in in shackles. He spends 23 hours in his cell."
Ebel served his entire sentence and was given mandatory parole on January 28, 2013, according to the state Department of Corrections.
Shift in investigation
The emerging details about the investigation appear to indicate authorities are shifting away from considering the possible involvement of Homaidan al-Turki, a Saudi national.
On Thursday, Presley of the El Paso County sheriff's department said that investigators were considering the possible involvement of al-Turki after a local news outlet, citing an anonymous source, said they were looking at connections between the Saudi national and Clements.
Al-Turki was convicted of sexually assaulting his housemaid at his Aurora, Colorado, home seven years ago. This month, Clements denied al-Turki's request to serve the remainder of his Colorado prison sentence in Saudi Arabia, records show.
Attorneys for al-Turki did not immediately return a CNN request for comment.