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A 16-year-old Jacob Ind is shown during his murder trial in 1994. He is serving two life sentences for the murders, but recently won a retrial. Ind is from Woodland Park. File photo

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CRIPPLE CREEK • A man sentenced to life in prison in the 1992 murders of his mother and stepfather in Woodland Park could be freed under a deal with prosecutors.

Jacob Patrick Ind, 41, pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder in the deaths of Kermode and Pamela Jordan. The plea deal averts a retrial in which Ind was expected to argue that he killed his parents in self-defense after extensive abuse.

In pleading guilty, Ind, who was 15 at the time of the killings, said he plotted the murders to end “a lifetime of torture and abuse and despair.”

“I thought I was stuck,” he said in a halting voice during a hearing in Teller County District Court, dressed in a green-striped Teller County jail jumpsuit with his hands and legs shackled. He emphasized that personal turmoil led to his decision to “kill my parents.”

Under his plea bargain, Ind is eligible to receive a 32- to 72-year sentence. Teller County District Judge Lin Billings Vela is expected to impose sentence Dec. 20.

If he were to receive the minimum sentence, Ind, who has served roughly 25 years, would probably be cleared for immediate release, legal observers say. Even a maximum sentence would likely mean he would eventually walk out of prison.

The move marked the latest turn in a legal drama that ratcheted up last October, when Judge Jane Tidball set aside Ind’s back-to-back life sentences without the chance of parole and ordered that he receive a new trial.

Tidball granted the retrial after determining that his attorney, Shaun Kaufman, improperly kept Ind from testifying at his closely watched trial in 1994. Kaufman’s law license was suspended last October because of unrelated violations.

Tidball, a Denver District judge, was appointed to the case to avoid the appearance of conflict because another of Ind’s former attorneys, Tom Kennedy, later served as a 4th Judicial District judge. The case was transferred to Judge Billings Vela after Tidball’s decision to grant Ind a new trial. Kennedy, who has since retired, wasn’t accused of wrongdoing.

Authorities say Ind hired another teenager to help him kill his mother and stepfather as they slept on Dec. 17, 1992. When the accomplice, Gabriel Adams, 18, struggled to complete the job, Ind joined in. Authorities say the Jordans were shot, stabbed and sprayed in the face with bear mace in a brutal attack believed to have lasted five minutes.

At trial, Ind mounted what some called the “battered child syndrome” defense, arguing the attacks were self-defense after physical, psychological and sexual abuse, allegations that were explored at length in a recent court proceeding.

Adams, also sentenced to life in prison, committed suicide in a cell in 2014 at age 38.

In the year since he was granted a new trial, Ind and his attorneys fought unsuccessfully to have the retrial heard in Juvenile Court, a move that would have limited a potential sentence for first-degree murder to five years in prison.

The guilty plea comes less than a month after Billings Vela denied the request and ordered that the case be sent back to adult court.

Had he been convicted of first-degree murder at retrial, he likely would have been sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole after 40 years.

Among the legal nuances of this week’s guilty plea is the question of how much time Ind will actually serve after a new sentence is imposed in December.

Under terms of his deal, Ind will receive credit for all time served, plus “good time” and “earned time” during his years in prison.

Ind’s new sentence will be imposed under the same standards that applied in 1992, meaning he will be forced to serve at least 50 percent of his remaining time, rather than the 75 percent that would be required now, said one of his attorneys, Nicole Mooney.

For those reasons, Ind is likely to remain imprisoned only if he receives a sentence in the mid- to upper range that he faces.

Ind was ordered to remain at the Teller County jail without bond pending sentencing.

Reporter

I cover legal affairs for The Gazette, with an emphasis on the criminal courts. Tips to lance.benzel@gazette.com

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