Professors’ Killer Will Seek New Sentence

Concord — One plotted the death of two Dartmouth professors. Another opted to kill his parents rather than abide by curfews and other household rules.

Robert Tulloch and Robert Dingman are among four New Hampshire men imprisoned for life for murders committed when they were under 18 who are seeking to be resentenced under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says mandatory life sentences for juveniles amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Prosecutors argue that the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling should not be applied retroactively to convicts who have exhausted their direct appeals.

But lawyers for the four say their clients were children and should not be sentenced as adults.

“It may be inevitable that a few will nonetheless be sentenced to life without parole, but there are far more who should not be so quickly condemned to a life behind bars,” said Attorney Richard Guerriero, who represents Tulloch.

Tulloch was convicted in the 2001 deaths of Dartmouth College professors Half and Susanne Zantop in Hanover. Robert Dingman was convicted of killing his parents in their Rochester home in 1996.

Also seeking a reduced sentence are Eduardo Lopez Jr., convicted of shooting a man to death during a robbery in Nashua in 1991 and Michael Soto, who supplied the gun used in a Manchester street shooting in 2007.

All four were 17 when their crimes were committed.

The court’s ruling last June in Miller v. Alabama did not bar life sentences for juveniles, but said trial judges must first consider whether the convict’s lack of maturity and vulnerability to peer pressure mitigate against life behind bars.