Crime

Mar 20, 2014 12:43 AM by Maddie Garrett

The Mind of a Killer: Criminal Profiler Looks at Canon City Triple Murder Case

The suspect in a triple murder of a mother and her two children in Canon City will appear in court Thursday afternoon to be formally charged. 31-year-old Jaacob Vanwinkle could face three counts of first degree murder, kidnapping, sexual assault and sexual assault on a child by a person in position of trust.

When horrible crimes such as this are committed, people in the community often ask "why" and "how" someone could harm children and take the lives of others. News 5 sat down with criminal profiler and former FBI Investigator, Pete Klismet, to ask those very questions.

"It's a completely different mindset, it's a psychopathic mind," said Klismet, author of "FBI Diary - Profiles of Evil."

As a 30 year veteran in law enforcement and more than a decade as a college professor, Klismet has studied people like Jaacob Vanwinkle for years. Klismet said someone convicted of child molestation, and accused of harming children, does typically show certain personality traits.

"We're dealing with a person who cares nothing about anybody else other than themselves," said Klismet.

Vanwinkle is only a suspect in the murder of a mother and her two children, but Klismet said he's not surprised by the accusations, given Vanwinkle's past.

"That's a person that's got a lot of violence in the past, there's a lot of anger, there's a lot of rage, things have happened to him in the past that didn't happen to any of us," explained Klismet.

Prison records show Vanwinkle was convicted of child molestation twice in Indiana, and vicarious sexual gratification. He was also arrested in connection to the murder of his roommate in Indiana, but never charged with the crime.

Vanwinkle is a registered sex offender and was also arrested and charged with assault and domestic violence in Fremont County recently.

"In my opinion, if you take a child molester you will never rehabilitate them," said Klismet. "Because that's what controls all of this (pointing to his head), and once it's in there, it never goes away."

Vanwinkle not only has a violent past, but appears to have drug and alcohol problems.

"That exacerbates the whole problem, it makes everything worse," said Klismet.

Klismet said he doesn't think Vanwinkle is mentally ill or just "snapped."

"Is this guy crazy? No he's not crazy," answered Klismet.

He explained that if Vanwinkle did commit this crime, it was a long time building up and even predictable give Vanwinkle's record and behaviors.

"This guy has trained himself up to the point where he got to that moment, and where all of that anger and fury and rage that was inside of him culminated in that one moment," Klismet explained.

In the wake of such tragedy, many people are trying to understand how a person could commit such a crime. Klismet said it's impossible for rational thinking individuals to understand the irrational thoughts of a killer.

"Can we really understand? And the answer is no," he said.

Klismet also points out that Vanwinkle didn't try to flee the scene of the crime, or catch the teen girl running from the house who he allegedly sexually assaulted. Instead, police found Vanwinkle asleep at the home where the family was killed. Klismet said that is unusual and is usually a sign of lack of remorse.

 

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