CANON CITY, Colo. - The man accused of killing a mother and two children in Cañon City in March pleaded guilty Monday to 26 charges.
Under a plea bargain, Jaacob Van Winkle agreed to plead guilty to more than two dozen charges in exchange for a life sentence, according to our partners at The Denver Post.
Jaacob Van Winkle was arrested in March for the deaths of 35-year-old Mandy Folsom and two of her children, 9-year-old Marissa and 5-year-old Mason.
A third child, a 16-year-old girl, was sexually assaulted, but managed to escape when Van Winkle passed out, according to the probable cause affidavit obtained by the Pueblo Chieftain.
Authorities say Van Winkle and the mother had dated and he was living with the family.
Folsom's father, Jim Stotler, told 7NEWS that every day has been hell since March 9 when deputies knocked on his door and said there had been a serious incident.
"At the police station we learned that two of our little grandkids (ages 5 and 9) had been brutally murdered along with our daughter," Stotler wrote in a letter to 7NEWS. "Our oldest granddaughter (16 years old) was able to escape from this monster after being severely tortured for several hours."
"I think part of what makes it so bad is the thoughts of how they were so brutally tortured over a period of time and then literally massacred one at a time, probably as the others were made to watch," Stotler said.
Stotler was not happy about the plea bargain, he wanted Van Winkle to get the death penalty.
"I’m sorry but there is no forgiveness coming from me and I can see the death penalty as the only suitable justice, not only for these murders but also because he will likely kill again when given a chance, whether it be in prison or (heaven forbid) if he ever escaped," Stotler said. "Plus we all know a sentence of life in prison seldom means life in prison."
The Associated Press reported that Van Winkle was convicted in Indiana of child molestation and other sex crimes involving girls as young as 5 and 7 in 2004. He failed to register as a sex offender after moving to Cañon City and authorities were pursuing him because of that before he was arrested in the killings.