One of two teenagers charged with murdering two Dartmouth College professors agreed Monday to plead guilty in one of the slayings.
James Parker, 17, will plead guilty to an adult charge of accomplice to second-degree murder in the stabbing of Susanne Zantop. Prosecutors and defense attorneys did not say what would happen to the murder charge involving the victim’s husband.
“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,” defense attorney Cathy Green said. “He is now 17 and will pay a very heavy price for his role in this tragedy.”
The charge carries up to life in prison. The agreement needs a judge’s approval. A hearing was scheduled for Friday.
The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald said Monday that a family friend told them that Parker would testify against his friend Robert Tulloch as part of the agreement.
Last week, Tulloch’s lawyer served notice that the 18-year-old will mount an insanity defense when he goes on trial in April.
Parker and Tulloch were charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 27 stabbing deaths of Zantop and her husband, Half, in their Hanover home. Half Zantop, 62, taught earth sciences at Dartmouth, and Susanne Zantop, 55, was head of the German studies department.
Parker was 16 at the time of the slayings, Tulloch 17.
Authorities have given no motive for the crime or offered any connection between the Zantops and the defendants, who live about 25 miles away in Chelsea, Vt.
Prosecutors say fingerprints and footprints at the home link the teenagers to the slayings. Court documents also say two military-style knives stained with the victims’ blood were found in Tulloch’s bedroom.