A 34-year-old Ontario man who at age 12 shot and killed a Culver couple in an infamous 1992 murder case – for making him do his homework -- has been found shot to death at his apartment in the Eastern Oregon community, authorities said Wednesday.
Around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jacob Colman was found in his apartment in the 100 block of NW Third Avenue in Ontario, police reported.
Police Chief Mark Alexander said Colman moved to Ontario in about 2004 and lived alone. He declined to say how many shots were fired.
No more details were released due to the ongoing investigation, which also involves the Oregon State Police Crime Lab and the Malheur County district attorney’s and sheriff’s offices.
“No arrests have been made in the matter,” police said in a brief news release Wednesday morning, asking that anyone with information contact the Ontario Police Department at (541) 889-7266.
His biological father, Richard Colman, said detectives have yet to speak with him about what happened. He declined further comment, The Associated Press reported.
In April 1992, Colman was staying with Pete and Janet Read at their home in the Jefferson County community of Culver. He had been removed from his biological mother and was staying with the couple while awaiting an opening at St. Mary’s Home for Boys in Beaverton.
Colman told police in a taped interview shortly after the killings that he killed the Reads after becoming upset because they made him do his homework.
He told an officer in a taped interview that he shot the Reads in anger after they required him to spend the day doing schoolwork.
“I had to sit in the chair all day,” he said.
Colman said late that night, he made plans to kill the Reads. He tried to wake them by banging on the living room piano. That didn’t work, so he turned on the TV, then went into the bathroom with one of the couple’s loaded shotguns and waited.
Pete Read awoke, turned off the television and “walked into the bathroom, and I shot him,” Colman said on the tape. “I shot him once in the chest. He started crawling toward me and I shot him again. Then Janet ran in there and I shot her in the head.”
Asked when he did so, the boy replied: “I didn’t like them.”
Colman said he drove away in the couple’s truck, stopped at a tavern in a neighboring town and called police.
Back in 2000, Colman, then 21, was released from the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, eight years after the slayings of Pete Read, the county’s Cattleman of the Year in 1991, and wife Janet, a popular substitute teacher.
Oregon Youth Authority officials said at the time that Colman’s crime was committed before a major revision of state law, so he could not be held past his 21st birthday. By 2000, the law had changed to allow OYA to incarcerate juvenile offenders until they are 25.
The couple had volunteered to be foster parents to the then-12-year-old boy after he got in trouble for stealing guns, and tried home-schooling him.
Colman’s father, Richard Colman, told The Bulletin in 2000 he planned to bring his son back to Madras so he could learn to drive, then perhaps go stay with relatives in Phoenix to learn diesel mechanics. Some members of the close-knit community were upset at the idea he’d be back in the area.
Online court records examined by NewsChannel 21 paint a post-release picture of repeated trouble for Colman, including arrests on charges ranging from burglary, strangulation and assault to driving with a suspended license.
Plea deals to lesser charges, such as harassment, resolved several charges, but he also failed to appear for work crew assignments and court hearings. At one point, in 2006, a judge was told Colman could not afford a GPS tracker ordered by the court because he was jobless and living with a friend.