Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Dartmouth Murders

'I'm So Sorry, Jim'

After their arrest, Rob and Jim were taken to the Henry County Jail in New Castle, Indiana. They were fingerprinted and photographed. Unlike yearbook pictures showing Jim with a beaming smile, the jailhouse shot shows him grim. Rob is tousle-haired and pensive.

A Boston Herald article reported that they were "kept separate." It also revealed that Rob "cried unconsolably [sic] for hours" after his arrest and quoted an officer as saying, "He is by far the more emotional of the two."

Left alone and apparently thinking no one could see or hear him, a weeping Rob put his hands together as if in prayer and stared at the ceiling as he said, "Jim, I'm so sorry. Jim, I'm so sorry. Maybe if I'd used my brain a little more. So sorry for everything. I'm so sorry."

A Boston Globe piece reported that Rob bemoaned the destruction of his own future to an officer, saying, "It's a house of cards. It took me 17 years to build and I just blew it down and I can't build it up again."

But he never expressed remorse for the deaths of the Zantops.

In November 2001, a state court ruled that Jim Parker would be tried as an adult. Prosecutors had already said they would not seek the death penalty for the youthful defendants. The ruling meant Jim could face life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Suzanne Zantop
Suzanne Zantop

Jim agreed to cooperate with authorities and testify against Rob in exchange for being allowed to plead guilty as an accessory to second-degree murder in the killing of Susanne Zantop only. The agreement meant his sentence was 25 years to life and that he would be eligible to apply for parole in 16 years, when he is 33.

Dr. Eric Manheimer, medical director of Bellevue Hospital in New York, close friend of the Zantops and executor of their will, expressed dismay at the agreement to Boston Herald reporter Franci Richardson. "We are very disappointed that he's not going to have a life sentence, which he totally deserves," Dr. Manheimer stated. "He's a demonic murderer."


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