CHICAGO (CBS) — A revelation about a psychology professor at Millikin University in Decatur has shocked the small liberal arts college and the central Illinois town where’s he’s lived for nearly 30 years.
James St. James is a killer.
He is also the head of the psychology department at the university.
St. James, 61, was described by his colleagues as an older hippie who has an exemplary record as an educator.
However, he was somebody very different decades ago when as a teenager he killed his parents and sister outside Austin, Texas, in 1967.
He avoided prison time because he was declared insane at the time of the killings.
St. James, who changed his name from James Wolcott, received treatment and was released from prison.
He went on to become a respected educator at the downstate university, where he has taught for nearly 30 years.
Lana Hinshaw Klan, a videographer at CBS 2, could not believe her old psychology teacher could be the same man who killed his family
“He really is a good guy. I have really fond memories, and I feel sorry for him because his life is turned upside down.”
It was a big topic on Facebook among Millikin students.
One said he was going “on high alert when I go to class.”
Another student posted: “I had him for psychology and really liked him. But this is nuts.”
Millikin officials say they are standing by St. James, citing his leadership and many teaching awards.
They called the rebuilding of his life remarkable, and he is expected to teach this fall.
According to the university’s website, St. James received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in Texas and earned his Ph.D at the University of Illinois.