Attorneys for a Woodland Park man awaiting a new trial in the 1992 murders of his mother and stepfather are expected to detail longstanding claims in court this week that he was motivated by physical and sexual abuse.
Jacob P. Ind’s accounts of abuse at the hands of victims Kermode and Pamela Jordan are likely to take center stage at a hearing beginning Monday in Teller County District Court.
Judge Lin Billings Vela must determine whether Ind, who was 15 at the time of the killings, should be tried in juvenile court, where his attorneys say the case belongs, or in District Court, as prosecutors have requested. The hearing could take up to three days.
Ind could essentially walk from prison a free man if he is retried and convicted in juvenile court, but legal observers say the defense is unlikely to prevail.
Instead, the hearing is mostly significant for how it will preview Ind’s case for mitigation — the factors his defense hopes could lead a new jury to acquit him of first-degree murder, by demonstrating that he was trying to protect himself.
“We (will) get a window into his … school life, his family history, his mental health and social history,” said Colorado Springs attorney Tracey Eubanks, who isn’t directly involved. “Anything that perhaps would involve physical, psychological or sexual abuse would all be relevant.”
Ind, now 40, was convicted of both murders at a closely watched trial in 1994, with prosecutors alleging that he hired a high school classmate, Gabrial Adams, 18, to help carry out the attacks. The two struck while the Jordans slept — shooting, stabbing and spraying the couple in the face with bear mace in an attack that lasted 5 minutes.
Last year, Judge Jane Tidball set aside Ind’s life sentence without parole and granted him a new trial after ruling that his attorney denied him his constitutional right to take the stand.
Ind was previously tried in District Court under laws that allowed prosecutors to charge him with murder as an adult.
However, changes to the juvenile justice system enacted in 2012 mean that murder suspects less than 16 must be charged as juveniles. The same law requires prosecutors to ask a judge to transfer the case to District Court if they can prove it serves the interests of justice.
The judge must consider 16 factors, including the seriousness of the offense, the protection of the community and the maturity of the juvenile.
The defense argues that if the case is tried in the juvenile system, and he is convicted, a judge could disregard time served and sentence him to up five additional years in prison.
Colorado Springs defense attorney Phil DuBois was among those who said Ind’s attorneys have little chance of prevailing, citing the multiple victims, Ind’s “relative maturity” at the time of the crimes, and the Pikes Peak region’s lengthy track record of trying youthful killers as adults.
“It’s just a long way to get to the same result,” said DuBois. “He’s going to adult court.”
Ind’s trial is expected to be scheduled after Billings Vela’s ruling.