Man gets life sentence for killing 3 members of Colorado family, sexually assaulting teen

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CANON CITY, Colorado — A sex offender from Indiana was sentenced Monday to three consecutive life terms for sexually assaulting a teenage girl and killing her mother, brother and sister in southern Colorado.

Jaacob Van Winkle won't be eligible for parole under the sentence handed down in Canon (KAN'-yen) City under a deal he reached with prosecutors. He did not face the death penalty.

Van Winkle pleaded guilty in June to the March killings and assault. The Associated Press isn't identifying the victims to protect the identity of the 16-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted. Family members wept as they addressed the judge.

According to Van Winkle's arrest affidavit, the girl told police she was able to escape the man after he assaulted her because he passed out from drinking and taking some of her mother's prescription pills. The girl ran to a neighbor, who called 911.

The teen told authorities her relatives were tied up in a garage, and officers later found their bodies in a bedroom of the house, bound and gagged with socks and packing tape.

The arrest affidavit said officers found Van Winkle in a different bedroom. He initially told them he watched TV at the home, left to get methamphetamine from a friend and returned to find the bodies but decided not to call police because he was a fugitive.

The girl said her mother and Van Winkle had broken up about two weeks before the killings and assault.

Van Winkle was convicted in Indiana of child molestation and other sex crimes involving girls in 2004. He failed to register as a sex offender after moving to Canon City.

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