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Man convicted in 2001 killings of Dartmouth College professors up for parole in May

By Arielle Mitropoulos

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    MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (WMUR) — One of two men in prison for his role in the 2001 murders of two Dartmouth College professors is set to face a parole board later this month.

James Parker is up for parole in May. He is serving a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for the 2001 stabbing deaths of Half and Susanne Zantop.

Investigators said he and his friend, Robert Tulloch, posed as students conducting a survey when they killed the couple. They planned to steal their ATM cards and move to Australia, prosecutors said at the time.

Parker was 16 at the time, and he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after he agreed to testify against Tulloch.

Parker had requested a hearing in 2018 to suspend his sentence, citing good behavior. However, that hearing never happened, as he withdrew his request after objections from the victim’s family.

At the time, investigators said that Parker had changed immensely since he was a teenager, completing high school, college, and even a graduate program. They reported that he now has hobbies like drama and music, suggesting that he had committed himself to bettering his prison community.

Legal experts said Parker’s age at the time of the killings will likely be a key argument for his lawyers.

“Age is probably going to be the biggest factor in his favor, along with, it appears, that he has been, for lack of a better word, a model prisoner,” said legal analyst Patricia LaFrance. “At least, he was when he came up in 2019 to have a portion of his sentence suspended.”

Parker’s lawyers said he realizes the pain this has caused the family, but he hopes to show that he has changed.

Legal experts also said that it is likely the family of the Zantops will speak out against his potential parole, just as they have in the past.

In 2002, one of the couple’s daughters shared a victim impact statement, expressing her deep grief to the court.

“There is no statement in the entire world that can capture the absolute horror, disbelief, pain, sadness, and anger that I, my sister and our family and friends have experienced,” she said.

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