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La Junta man elected to school board quits following threats - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

La Junta man elected to school board quits following threats

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East Otero School Board Member elect Thomas Seaba served 13 years in prison for a Second Degree Murder conviction East Otero School Board Member elect Thomas Seaba served 13 years in prison for a Second Degree Murder conviction
LA JUNTA -

A convicted murderer who was recently elected to serve on the school board in La Junta, tells News 5 he's giving up the seat after enduring harassment and intimidation. 

Tom Seaba, who said he ran for the school board because he wants to give back to his community, said someone broke into his home last week, poured gasoline all over the house and left a threatening message. 

Seaba declined to be interviewed for this story, saying he's done with all of the publicity brought on by his electoral victory. However, he confirmed in a phone conversation that he would not assume office out of concern for the safety of his family.

Seaba wrote the following in Facebook post published Friday night:

"I never thought a Friday could be so black. 

To whomever you are:  I quit. You win. Leave us alone."

His message drew nearly one hundred responses, most of them were supportive. 

As we previously reported, Seaba pleaded guilty to Second Degree Murder in connection with the shooting death of another man in North Carolina in 1997. Seaba served 13 years and a month behind bars before being released in 2010. 

He's worked for the City of La Junta in various roles since then, most recently as the head of the water and wastewater department.  City Manager Rick Klein said many people in town already knew about Seaba's past and wanted him on the board anyway.

"He's never hidden who he is, you know, his past," Klein said. "He's always said 'hey, talk to me' because he wants people to know you can change."

He's not the only one disappointed that Seaba won't be joining the board. Kristin Bickle, who won the other at-large seat, called Seaba a really good guy.  She works as a behavioral health therapist and said she got to know Tom through the volunteer work he does.

"I work at a place that's all about recovery and all about reform and this guy has done so much for our community and has a big heart and just has done so much for people," Bickle said. "I actually voted for him as well."

Bickle and the other winning candidates are expected to take their oaths of office during a swearing-in ceremony at Monday night's school board meeting. 

Rick Lovato, superintendent of the East Otero County School District said he was unaware of Seaba's plans. He explained that when a candidate doesn't take the oath, a vacancy is declared at the following school board meeting. The board then begins the process for appointing a new member. Lovato said there wouldn't be a special election held for the vacancy. 

A representative for the La Junta Police Department said they are currently looking into the break-in at Seaba's home.

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