And (Jacob) was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place.”
~ Genesis 28:17
Surrounded by the noise of the other riders, the coldness inside Jacob began to dissolve. He could almost believe that this was just another day, but as the bus neared the school, he began to shake. He clasped his legs and hands together until the trembling passed.
The school buses parked in the elementary school lot below WPHS. Jacob’s breath plumed in front of his face as he and Jeremy and the others strode up a short incline to the middle and high schools—a sprawling length of buildings connected by a glass commons. Snow heaped against the brick walls, upon the winter dead lawn and around a wrought iron sculpture of a panther, the school mascot. One more day until Christmas vacation. One more day until Jacob would have boarded a plane to his dad’s. As if that would have solved anything. Even if he’d told, Pamela had often said that there was no legal way Frank could ever get custody, so why bother? Frank could only provide a temporary reprieve. Jacob liked his dad okay and Frank tried to be a real father, but he had never really stood up to Pam, so there was no point in confiding anything. Besides, Jacob only saw his real dad a few times a year and their relationship was superficial. Kermode had been too rough and Frank was too much like another kid, so in a way Jacob felt as if he didn’t have a dad.
Once inside the main building, Jacob looked first for Mondo. When he couldn’t find his best friend, he headed for Major’s locker, but his partner didn’t show. Major had promised they’d concoct an alibi. Where the hell was he? Wasn’t he going to come to school? What did his absence mean?
Before first hour, counselor David Greathouse sought out Jacob. Greathouse, a bearded man in his early fifties with a lean runner’s body, had been a guidance counselor for five years, working with students bearing last names beginning A-K. Greathouse had worked closely with Charles after he’d expressed a desire to leave home. Charles wanted to be emancipated, which at eighteen was no problem, but Greathouse had discouraged him primarily for financial reasons. Charles had revealed something about the turmoil in the home, his stepfather’s drinking and the verbal abuse. He even expressed fear for Jacob and worried that by moving out he was abandoning his younger brother. Greathouse also suspected that Jacob might be at risk, but like everyone else the boys turned to for help, he never filed any sort of report or attempted to verify Charles’s allegations. He did speak to Pam several times about her eldest son’s move and arranged for Charles to remain covered under the family health plan. During their conversations, Pam was very guarded about her relationship with her boys, only alluding to “conflicts.”
As for Jacob, Greathouse and he had only discussed possible problems that previous week. Greathouse later said he’d initiated the session after Jacob threatened another teen with scissors. Jacob and Charles agree that Charles approached Greathouse expressing concern over his younger brother’s deteriorating condition. Jacob certainly hadn’t wanted to talk to David Greathouse or anyone else. What if his parents found out?
Once in the counselor’s office, Charles had done most of the talking, though Jacob admitted that he’d had difficulty eating and sleeping. Jacob also said,”I spend as much time as I can at school without getting into trouble… We haven’t eaten a meal together since Thanksgiving.” Greathouse noted that the fifteen-year-old looked tired, ill, unkept, depressed, and “very tormented.”
Following the meeting, Charles’s impression was that Greathouse was unresponsive and arrogant. With all the discussion of violence and emotional abuse, it does seem reprehensible that Greathouse, in his capacity as counselor, didn’t take steps to immediately defuse the situation. He did arrange for an intake specialist from Penrose-St. Francis Hospital to speak with Jacob, though he did not make this an urgent priority.
When Greathouse spotted Jacob on December 17, he reminded the teen that the specialist would be available first hour. Jacob responded appropriately enough, though he’d actually forgotten all about seeing the woman. In this instance, his upbringing served him well. He just reacted automatically, the same way he had all those times when people asked about bruises, tears or various physical ailments, such as stomach aches or high fevers or vomiting. Blame it on everything except the cause. You want me to see somebody? All right. I can do that. I can do anything except reveal the truth.
7:50. Minutes away from first hour. Jacob spotted David Mabie. Jacob pulled his friend over near a restroom, away from other students.
In a loud whisper, Jacob said, “The music played,” referring to their code. “But I did it. It was all fucked up.”
David’s expression was the same as when they plotted something—a calm look, but with a gleam in his eyes. “Are you serious?”
Jacob looked around nervously. “Yes.” He ran his fingers through his thick black hair. “Do you know where Mondo is? I’m tempted to just go home now and shoot myself.”
David didn’t say anything.
“Major went into the room and shot the .22 six times. I shot the .357. Three times. Two shots hit him…them. One missed.”
David stared at him.
The bell rang and both teenagers parted for first hour.
Jacob met with the intake specialist, but didn’t say much of anything. His mind sometimes had difficulty functioning properly, but he managed to pretend that things were one way when they were actually another. In response to a question about his parents, Jacob replied that they were at work and that everything was fine. Following that meeting he went to gym and shot hoops. Then he participated in a forensics debate. Fellow students remember that he gave a spirited presentation.
Between second and third hour, Jacob finally found Armando Lee. Mondo is a short quiet young man with deep set Indian eyes and a sweet smile. His family lives fifty miles outside of Woodland Park on a huge chunk of land that is isolated from just about everyone and everything. Jacob loved going to Armando’s, tearing around in one of his dad’s many vehicles, killing ground squirrels and just enjoying being free. Mondo’s parents were gentle and kind, the sort of parents Jacob wished he had. In the weeks preceding the murders Jacob had asked the Lees if he could come live with them. But even as he’d asked, he knew Kermode and his mom would never have allowed him to stay.
Jacob and David had talked to Mondo about killing the Jordans, but Mondo had dismissed it as a stupid idea. Now, when Jacob started telling his friend about the murders, he became agitated.
“I can still hear my mother screaming,” Jacob said, pacing in front of Armando. “I think I’m just going to go home and kill myself.”
Mondo expressed his horror, but Jacob pressed him for the best way to accomplish the deed. Mondo knew a lot about guns. His family kept weapons in virtually every room of their house. Jacob wanted his death to be quick and neat. Every time he’d previously contemplated suicide he’d worried that Charles would have to clean up the mess and he didn’t want his brother to have to deal with something really bloody and awful.
“If I put the shotgun between my eyes, that’ll work, won’t it?”
Mondo didn’t answer.
“That’ll work, won’t it?”
“Yes, it’ll work.” Mondo said in an anguished voice.”Look, do you want me to call the police for you?”
The bell rang for third hour.
“We’ll talk during lunch,” Mondo promised.
Jacob arrived at Victor Smith’s drafting class near the end of third period, following his forensics debate. Smith was annoyed.
“I’ve marked you absent. You were supposed to check in at the beginning of the day to let me know your plans.”
“Oh, okay. I guess I’d better go to the office.”
To Smith Jacob seemed “internally calm, emotionally controlled… He appeared to be free from whatever mental pressure had been troubling him.” In hindsight Smith wondered whether Jacob’s deterioration, along with his changes in skin color, his sweatiness, and hyperactivity, might all have been indications of a nervous breakdown.
Smith also later reflected on the differences between Jacob and Major Adams, whom he taught in two classes. Jacob struck Smith as a moral young man, the kind who wouldn’t steal, for example, whereas Major often ended up with other people’s things. And when Smith entered a room he would immediately discard someone like Jacob, but he’d never discard Major. Although Gabrial was a quiet kid, Smith always assigned him a seat in the front of the room. Major made him uneasy, in the sense that he didn’t know what the teen was capable of doing. Smith suspected that Major might be violent. He carried The Anarchist’s Cookbook around and talked incessantly about martial arts. Despite his small size, he could be menacing. Major spoke so knowledgeably about Vietnam that Smith decided Gabrial had either read a heck of a lot of books on the subject or there might be something in his claim of being a reincarnated Vietnam vet.
After exchanging a few more words with Smith, Jacob left drafting and walked outside to his geometry class, which was located in a modular behind the high school. His geometry teacher, Cindy Meyer, who has long silky blonde hair, a strong face and forthright manner, considered Jacob to be one of her favorite students. In geometry he was generally the center of attention, but in a positive way. He always asked such interesting and thought provoking questions, and his smile, well, everyone agreed that Jacob’s smile could light up any room. Cindy had long suspected that things weren’t terrific in Jacob’s life, but he was guarded in his remarks. She couldn’t help but notice, however, that his sleeping habits had changed because he started falling asleep in class.
When she asked him about it, he said, “I just can’t sleep.”
“Well, you’re either going to have to get more sleep or stay home.”
Today, his fellow students didn’t notice anything different about Jacob. He actually seemed in a better mood than in the past weeks, and scored a “B” on a pop quiz. But while Jacob tried to concentrate on the various formulas, a part of him expected someone from the central office to appear, or a message to be sent or a phone call made. Jacob knew that he was about to be found out. He wasn’t sure how it would happen or who would tell, but he was certain that his time was nearly up. And he was right.
At ll:15, David Mabie entered Greathouse’s office.
“I’m concerned that a friend of mine killed his parents. I’m afraid something terrible happened at Jacob Ind’s house last night.”
Counselor Greathouse hurried to Charles’s classroom, only to find that Charles had called in sick. Greathouse went outside to Cindy Meyer’s portable classroom. Meyer explained that she would send Jacob to his office as soon as he was finished with his test.
The minute Jacob spotted Greathouse he figured his time was up. He just didn’t know whether it was about the “shrink” or the murders.
After returning to the main building, Greathouse saw David Mabie following principal Jim Taylor into his office.
Once the door was closed, an excited David repeated his story. “I think Jacob Ind might have done something to his parents.”
Jim Taylor, a tall, big boned man with thinning brown hair, a plain face and a stern manner, had been a principal at WPHS for five years. The school year of 1992-93 was shaping up to be one of his most challenging. The recent defeat at the polls of two important initiatives, a tax limitation amendment and a one cent sales tax that would have increased funding for public schools, was especially frustrating. Hundreds of thousands of dollars would have to be cut from Woodland Park’s budget at a time when the community was the third fastest growing in the state. Enrollment had topped seven hundred, and new students arrived almost daily. With the advent of gambling in nearby Cripple Creek, poor people had flocked to the area, hoping for decent paying jobs in the casinos. Big money also poured in from states like California. These children brought with them a host of big city problems such as guns and gangs, but Taylor had never dreamed that he might be facing something as serious as murder.
Uncomprehending, Taylor looked from David to Greathouse. “What do you mean, ‘Done something?’”
“I think maybe Jacob Ind’s parents are dead.”
Taylor was shocked. Charles and Jacob were bright kids and good students, and Pamela was a dream parent—active in school activities like science and forensics.
Taylor tried to think back over what he knew about Jacob Ind. The Jordans had insisted that Jacob repeat the eighth grade despite the fact that his grades were excellent, which was peculiar. Pamela had worried that Jacob was too immature for high school. But Jacob’s friend Mondo Lee had also repeated, so in a way her decision made sense. “I don’t want to separate them,” she said. Jacob hadn’t appeared resentful. In fact, the extra year had probably done him good. He appeared to have adjusted well to high school. Any discipline problems had been minor. Recently, there had been an incident involving a couple of other kids. Jacob had supposedly threatened to kill one of them with a pair of scissors, but when Taylor investigated, he found that the circumstances had been overblown, that there had been plenty of guilt to go around. After David Mabie finished his bizarre story, Taylor and Greathouse discussed a plan of approach—Taylor would call Kermode and Greathouse would call Pam. Hopefully, the couple would answer their respective phones and everything would prove to be some macabre joke.
When Greathouse returned to the counseling center area, Jacob was slumped in a chair beside the secretary’s desk, waiting.
“I have a couple of phone calls to make and then I’ll be right with you,” said Greathouse.
After disappearing into his office, he called the Jordans’ home phone number. Busy. He then called Care & Share in Colorado Springs. The first person on the line said, “Pam hasn’t arrived yet.” A second worker expressed her concern. “Pam always calls if anything is wrong.”
Increasingly alarmed, Greathouse asked Jacob to come into his office. He studied the youth. Jacob looked normal enough, though he appeared tired. Greathouse tried to decide upon the best way to approach the subject. Maybe he should ease into it and try to gauge Jacob’s reactions. Greathouse talked about first hour and Jacob’s counseling session with the intake specialist. They discussed treatment for his depression. Intently watching Jacob’s face, Greathouse mentioned that his parents would be involved in any therapy.
Jacob simply said, “That won’t be a problem.”
At 11:30, Jim Taylor, who’d unsuccessfully tried to contact Kermode at work, arrived. Greathouse decided it was time to directly confront Jacob.
He recounted what Mabie had said before bluntly finishing, “We have a report you killed your parents.”
Jacob paused, lowered his eyes, nodded and seemed to relax in his chair. Sliding down he rested his head on the back of the cushion. “I shot them with a .357.”
That admission opened up something inside Jacob. “They hit me, they hit me,” he cried, “and I couldn’t take it any more.”
“Where are they? At home?”
“In the house.”
“In the house?” one echoed.
“In their bedroom.”
“We have to talk to the police.”
Taylor and Greathouse didn’t ask many questions. They didn’t have to. Jacob talked and talked, jumping incoherently from subject to subject in some crazy chronology that neither man was capable of following. Jacob was obviously distraught and disbelieving of what had happened. He seemed to need to purge himself of the sights and sounds of the previous night and kept returning to the murders. When he talked about being awakened and going into the master bedroom, he started crying.
“My mother was screaming, she was screaming,” he said.
Jacob explained how his parents had been shot several times but weren’t dead.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “I had to finish them off.”
Taylor and Greathouse’s eyes met. Taylor studied the fifteen year old. His body language and attitude betokened one word, “Despair.”
Jacob babbled about how unhappy he and Charles were, and how with his parents out of the way they could sell their house and go to college. None of it made a heck of a lot of sense to the two men, but he wanted to get everything “off his chest.”
Greathouse and Taylor pressed Jacob for the identity of his accomplice. Fearful for his own safety, Jacob refused. Gabrial had warned him that he better not cross him, and Jacob believed he would carry out his threat. If Jacob told and they never captured Major, not only would he be at risk, but so would his brother.
“I can’t tell you who it is,” he said, though in no time at all Gabrial’s name was all over school.
Jacob then turned his attention to his missing dogs. “Kermode ran them off,” he said. Jacob would later say that he would never have killed his parents if Kermode hadn’t been so mean to Pike and Chaka, just as he said he wouldn’t have killed them if his mother had put up a Christmas tree, just as he said so many things. Jacob never realized that with each word, every added detail he was writing his death sentence. Had he refused to confess or cooperate, his defense would actually have been stronger. Police might say, “If you confess, it’ll go easier on you,” but what they really mean is it will make their job easier.
While Greathouse stayed with Jacob, Jim Taylor returned to his office. After contacting the Woodland Park Police Department, he phoned the central office, a crisis team in the building and organized a faculty meeting for after school. Things were already going crazy. Word was getting out and he had to figure out a way to keep matters under control. His priority was the safety of his students. Gabrial Adams was a worry. Where was he? There were so many scary stories nowadays of people going crazy and picking victims off from rooftops or towers or trees. Could Major even now be outside the school watching and waiting and readying to kill again? It was hard to believe, but no harder to believe than the fact that Kermode and Pamela Jordan had been executed by their own son.
Jacob’s feeling of relative well being abruptly ended when his brother entered the room. Charles hadn’t gone to school that morning. According to him, he had the flu and had been home sick in bed when he got the phone call. Charles looked extremely pale, and as he approached Jacob, Jacob saw the pain in his eyes, though as always Charles maintained his composure.
Jacob broke down. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” he sobbed. Charles put his hands on the back of Jacob’s neck. They were icy cold. He bent over and said, “I love you and I don’t blame you.”
Jacob kept thinking, I killed my brother’s parents. How could I have done that? How can he ever forgive me? Jacob didn’t want Charles to be mad at him, and he felt so terrible because he had just made his brother an orphan.
Charles and Jacob stayed together for about ten minutes. Jacob cried and Charles soothed him. All of Charles’s attention was focused on making things okay for Jacob. He couldn’t break down in front of his younger brother. He had to maintain control, he had to take care of Jacob. Throughout their lives, Charles had always tried to protect “Jake,” at first in a little boy manner, when he could only whisper, “It’ll be all right,” or touch Jacob’s shoulder and guide him to his room. Later, Charles had protected him with his sarcasm, by turning the brunt of their parents’ attention against himself, and allowing Jacob to slip away. Now, Charles swallowed back his tears so that Jacob wouldn’t feel worse, so that he would understand that Charles did indeed love him, no matter what. Only after Charles left his brother did he allow himself to give into his grief. Then Charles sobbed as though his heart had broken—because it had.
Officer Glen Jardin, a juvenile and DARE officer, mirandized Jacob following Charles’s departure.
“Jacob was visibly upset. He clutched a Kleenex and had obviously been crying for some time. After I mirandized him, I ordered him to remain silent.”
A part of Jacob couldn’t believe what was happening. Despite the tears, the strained faces of the adults and their serious demeanor, he didn’t feel as if he were in a lot of trouble.
But that was about to change.
 Jacob disagrees with this version of the testimony. “I didn’t cry until later when my brother came in and said he understood why I had killed them.”
And (his brother) said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob?” For he hath supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright and behold now he has taken away my blessing…
~ Genesis 27:36
Chapter 8 (click to entire chapter)