~ by Rick Langenberg ~
Does Jacob have a chance for freedom, and will this renewed case ignite old wounds?
That’s the question circulating around community circles regarding the fate of 40-year-old Jacob Ind, regarded as one of Woodland Park’s most famous teen killers.
Ind recently won his lengthy battle for a retrial of his original murder case. Ind was found guilty of brutally slaying his mother and step-dad, Pamela and Kermode Jordan, in December 1992 in a heavily publicized trial that often drew comparisons locally to the media furor of the O.J. Simpson case. Ind, who was only 15 at the time of the killings, was sentenced to jail for life with no chance of parole during a 1994 jury trial that lasted for over a month. The trail featured testimony by a bevy of local law officers and school officials. Many of these people have retired or no longer live in the area.
But several years ago, that type of sentence for juveniles — life behind bars with no chance of parole– was determined to be unconstitutional
The other plus for Ind is that his main attorney at the original trial, Shaun Kaufmann, didn’t allow him to testify. At the time, the attorney was afraid that Ind would show little remorse over the killings. Judge Jane Tidball reportedly cited this as a major reason for the decision for a jury retrial. A date has not been set yet for this retrial.
The case has generated national attention. Ind has been profiled on major documentaries, outlining controversial cases involving teen killers, and episodes of family abuse. Mary Ellen Johnson, a local author, penned a controversial book, “The Murder of Jacob,” that demonstrated much sympathy for Ind and the years of physical, sexual and mental abuse he reportedly experienced by his mother and step-dad.
The author, who has written several historic novels, orchestrated a major campaign to have Ind’s case reviewed again.
During the trial, Ind had a strong group of supporters. And the original judge, Mary Jane Looney, expressed much remorse later about the lack of flexibility she had in slapping Ind with a life behind bars sentence. She made it clear she didn’t agree with this law.
At the same time, the judge criticized Ind at the time of the sentencing for the brutality of the murders. His parents were stabbed and shot repeatedly by Ind and his accomplice in the murders, Gabriel Adams, who Ind hired to commit the killings. Adams was also convicted of
murder and sentenced to life behind bars with no chance of parole. He committed suicide in 2014, after failing to get a retrial himself.
Contrary to Ind’s trial, Adams’ case didn’t generate that much media attention and the trial was much shorter in length
Sentiments were often mixed among jury members regarding Ind’s fate over the last two decades. Several jurors stated, following Ind’s sentencing, that if they knew the teen faced this stern of a sentence, they may have changed their verdict.
Others, though, disagreed.
One juror, a former Cripple Creek casino employee, remarked that Ind didn’t deserve to go to jail for life. Instead, he should have been put to death immediately. The juror told TMJ News at the time that Ind had an out from the abuse he experienced by the hands of his mother and step-dad, when his natural father, who was divorced from Pamela Jordan, offered Ind a plane ticket to get out of the house .
Ind also made a rather self-incriminating, threatening phone call from jail to a former friend in Woodland Park that was used against him in the trial. That friend end up testifying against Jacob Ind in the murder trial.
Long-forgotten case or lingering wounds?
Ind could have a new trial as early as March. But most legal observers expect this to occur at a much later date.
The case is hardly ever mentioned among newer residents to the area. But when it comes to long-time residents and former lawmakers, the case could reignite familiar memories. The case of Jacob ind and subsequent trial definitely put Woodland Park on the legal map, whether locals like it or not.
For example, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers was the original district attorney at the time of the killings. Suthers played a big role in deciding to try Ind and Adams as adults, meaning that they would spend the rest of their days behind bars if found guilty of the killings.
Mike Rulo, the current Cripple Creek Police Chief, also headed the WP Police Department at the time of the killings.
The WP Police made the initial arrest of Ind, after school officials feared what occurred in the home of his parents in the Sunnywood neighborhood. Ind reportedly told a classmate about the killings. He was arrested without incident at the Woodland Park school grounds.
The length of time Ind has spent behind bars has forced some to re-examine his case, as he has been in jail longer than the days of his early and teen childhood.
According to a recent article in The (Colorado Springs) Gazette, Ind has been regarded as a model prisoner. He has received a doctorate in biblical studies and gained a paralegal certificate, and has worked in the Correctional Institute’s sewing shop. Plus, a psychiatric evaluation, revealed that “there is no evidence Jacob Ind poses a current, foreseeable, ongoing risk of violence for the community,” according to a recent Gazette article.
Still, many long-time residents contend that Ind still faces an uphill battle in gaining freedom. During the original case, he tried to use the battered child syndrome, and argue that he was acting in self-defense by slaying his parents. In some ways, his defense mirrored that of the Menendez brothers.
But this line of defense didn’t play well with the jury, as there weren’t enough specific details to convince them that Ind’s life was in danger. How his current legal team, headed by Nicole Mooney, will handle the retrial won’t be known for several months.
In recent years, Ind has been much more open about the details of his situation at the Jordan home. Ind hasn’t been shy about giving media interviews, but hasn’t expressed that much remorse about the killings. More details of this abuse were also outlined in Johnson’s book.
On the downside for Ind and his loyal supporters, Colorado jurors haven’t displayed that much leniency towards past killers. Regardless of the outcome, most legal observers don’t expect that Ind will receive as strict of a sentence as before.