One of two teenagers charged with the double-murder of two Dartmouth College professors will reportedly plead guilty to a lesser charge later this week in exchange for a reduced sentence.
A deal between James Parker, 17, and the New Hampshire Attorney General Philip McLaughlin was announced on Monday.
"On Friday, we will go to court with Jimmy Parker, who will waive indictment and plead guilty to one count of accomplice to the second degree murder of Susanne Zantop," said Cathy Green, Parker's attorney, in a statement.
The lesser charge of accomplice to murder carries a sentence of up to life in prison.
The deal is still awaiting a judge's approval.
At the hearing on Friday, "the State will present the terms of the proposed disposition to the Superior Court for consideration," McLaughlin said in a statement.
Parker and his friend, Robert Tulloch, 18, were both originally charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 27 stabbings of Zantop and her husband, Half, in their Hanover, N.H. home.
Half Zantop, 62, taught earth sciences at Dartmouth and Susanne Zantop, 55, was head of the German studies department.
"Jimmy has made the decision to accept responsibility for his actions, and is hopeful that his plea will enable his family and that of the Zantops to begin the healing process," Green said in her statement. "He is now 17 and will pay a very heavy price for his role in this tragedy."
According to The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald, Parker will testify against Tulloch as part of the agreement.
In a court filing last week, Tulloch's lawyer, Richard Guerriero, said his client will plead insanity when he goes on trial in April.
Tulloch will argue he suffers from a "severe mental defect or disease, and that his acts were the direct result of the mental defect or disease," Guerriero said in the filing.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Tulloch could receive the death penalty, although New Hampshire has not executed anyone since 1976.
At the time of the slayings, Parker was 16 and Tulloch was 17. Parker was originally going to be tried as a juvenile, but the prosecutor in the case was able to have the court consider him an adult.
Authorities have given no motive for the crime nor offered any connection between the Zantops and the defendants, who lived about 25 miles away from their alleged victims.
A law enforcement source has said the Zantops were probably killed during a burglary gone awry.
Parker and Tulloch disappeared from their hometown of Chelsea, Vt. in February, triggering a manhunt that ended with their capture at an Indiana truck stop.
Prosecutors say fingerprints and footprints at the home link the defendants to the slayings. Court documents also say two military-style knives stained with the victims' blood were found in Tulloch's bedroom.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.