Courts

Jun 30, 2014 8:08 PM by Andy Koen

Guilty pleas for triple homicide suspect

CAÑON CITY - The man accused of raping three children then killing two of them and their mother pleaded guilty in Fremont County on all 36 felony charges against him.

Jaacob Van Winkle faces multiple mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole when the judge issues his sentence later this fall.

Van Winkle kept his head down and shoulders slouched without ever looking in the direction of the family members of his victims during the hearing.

The judge individually explained each charge and Van Winkle acknowledged that he understood every explanation. He then repeated the word guilty 36 times after being questioned by the judge how he pleads.

Outside of the court house, relatives of Mandy Folsom and her children 5-year old Mason Kaufman and 9 year old Marrisa Stotler shared their heartache and their relief at having a conviction.

"With the DA accepting this plea, maybe my granddaughter and I can now try to do some healing instead of being up here and reliving this murder," said Dawn Wassel, Mandy's mother.

Mandy's brother Danny Stotler and her father Jim also welcome the chance for closure. They strongly believe the death penalty was warranted in this case but they feel it wasn't even an option.

"Governor Hickenlooper's decision to delay Mr.Dunlap's (execution) came up several times," Danny told reporters.

The Stotler's feel the lengthy mandatory appeals process with death penalty cases and uncertainty over executions together weaken the death penalty law in Colorado.

"You heard the judge in there, we have to wait 20 years and it might not even happen anyway, effectively eliminating the death penalty even though the people voted it in," said Jim Stotler.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 29th. In his plea agreement, Van Winkle agrees to mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for each the 14 murder charges and faces an additional 596 years for the remaining 22 counts if sentence enhancers are included.

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