By Ted Rowlands, CNN
A small town college has learned that one of its most well-regarded professors was keeping a secret.
James Wolcott was just 15-years-old when he shot and killed his parents and sister. He's now a psychology professor at an Illinois school.
August 4, 1967, inside a Georgetown Texas, home, police found the bodies of a college professor, his wife, and their 17-year-old daughter.
Within hours, 15-year-old James Wolcott admitted he'd killed his family using a .22 caliber rifle. Wolcott told police he hated his parents and sister and claimed he'd been sniffing glue in the weeks before he murdered them.
The story sent shockwaves through the small town, and made headlines around the country.
The next year, James Wolcott was tried as an adult, but was found not-guilty by reason of insanity. Seven years after that, in 1974, he was deemed sane and set free.
After that, Wolcott seemed to just disappear until a Texas newspaper reporter tracked him down in the central Illinois town of Decatur, where he's been teaching psychology at Millikin University for the past 27 years.
His name now is Dr. James St. James. He's the head of the psych department at Millikin, and a student favorite.
"He's very intelligent, he's almost a genius. He could lecture for hours without notes. He just knows everything off the top of his head," said student Jordan Stout.
Some people are upset St. James didn't tell the university about his past when he was hired.
"If I were a parent and my kids were going to Millikin, that's something I would want to know," Decatur City Councilman Jerry Dawson told the local newspaper.
The university though is standing by St. James, saying, "given the traumatic experiences of his childhood Dr. St. James' efforts to rebuild his life and obtain a successful professional career have been remarkable."
Reporter: "There are some people that want him to step down. What are your thoughts?"
"I think he should stay. He's been a great professor. He has no reason to leave unless he does something here, you know? He has no reason to step down," said Stout.
CNN tried to contact St. James, who's now 61, at his home and by email, but got no response.
Even with his secret now out, the university is expecting he'll be back in the classroom when school resumes at the end of the month.