Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Men and Supermen: The Nietzsche Syndrome

Death of the Dream

Tulloch & Parker
Tulloch & Parker

The abandoned Audi with Vermont plates was located at a truck stop along Interstate 84 in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The police were on the right track, and on the following day, the boys were found. On February 19, a police officer overheard a trucker ask over a CB radio whether anyone could take two boys to California. The trooper radioed back that he could, asking the driver to drop them off at a specific place, and he soon met the boys there. They had been caught an hour short of Indianapolis at another truck stop — a far cry from their ultimate destination of Australia. Tulloch, an adult, was arraigned on the murder charges. On February 24, Parker was returned to New Hampshire, where he faced a hearing in juvenile court and the likelihood of being waived to an adult court. (He was.)

In November, Tulloch pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Parker made a plea deal to tell everything and to testify against Tulloch in exchange for a second-degree murder conviction. It was Tulloch who had instigated the plan, he said. Parker told of their attempts to kill and rob several other people before they succeeded with the Zantops, and explained that they'd pretended to be students doing a survey. Having won their way inside, they proceeded to stab the couple to death. Supposedly, it was the "perfect murder," because they had no connection to the victims, but they'd been careless. Jim said he'd had second thoughts before they began, and had later regretted the act. Tulloch had a lot of influence over him, and on his own he wasn't so sure of their ideas.

Tulloch also accepted a deal when his insanity assessment fell apart. He pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and to one count of murder conspiracy and received a life sentence without parole. Lehr & Zuckoff conclude that he is a psychopathic individual, without remorse, leading the more vulnerable Parker into his callous plan.

In fact, these journalists uncovered his past and found that his plan to acquire $10,000 for starting a new life by murder and theft was based in his belief in his own superiority. He'd aspired to become president of the U.S. by age 35 and then to rule the world. Tulloch was a reader of Nietzsche, and was especially impressed with the idea that, without God, there were no absolute moral values. A powerful individual could decide what was right — including murder — and do it. Tulloch told one teacher he thought he had a "divine intellect," but while he was bright, he was not particularly productive. Nevertheless, he and Parker were convinced they were superior beings and the people around them were worthless and stupid. Like Raskolnikov, it turns out they were wrong.

But just what did Nietzsche actually say?

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