Documents released in professors' deaths; still no word on motive

Thursday, March 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LEBANON, N.H. (AP) _ Police documents were released Thursday in the slayings of two Dartmouth College professors, but they contained no hint about what might have motivated the alleged killers.

The affidavits released in Lebanon District Court outline some of the evidence that led police to Robert Tulloch, 17, and James Parker, 16. The Chelsea, Vt., teen-agers face first-degree murder charges in the Jan. 27 stabbing deaths of Half and Susanne Zantop.

The documents confirm, as already reported, that fingerprints found in the Zantops' home matched the younger of the two teen suspects.

In addition to the fingerprint evidence, the court documents also describe two knives Parker bought over the Internet in early January. Deputy Medical Examiner Thomas Gilson analyzed identical knives and found they could have inflicted the Zantops' wounds.

``Dr. Gilson compared the exemplar with the stab wounds inflicted on Half and Susanne Zantop,'' police said. ``Dr. Gilson told Sgt. (Mark) Mudgett that he determined that stabbing injuries inflicted upon Half and Susanne Zantop were consistent with having been inflicted by the exemplar knife.''

The documents as released, with some sections blacked out, don't reveal where police found Parker's fingerprints. But a knife sheath or sheaths found at the scene reportedly bore one of Parker's fingerprints and a bootprint linked Tulloch to the home.

The documents contained no information about motive. They also make no mention of any neo-Nazi materials; according to a broadcast report last week, such publications were found in Tulloch's home. The Zantops were said to believe strongly that their native Germany should face its Nazi past.

``We're still looking around, but we have no motive,'' Senior Assistant Attorney General Dan Mullen said Thursday.

Prosecutors had consented on Wednesday to the release of the information by Lebanon District Court Judge Albert Cirone. Previously, authorities had fought media attempts in New Hampshire and Vermont to get judges to release information about the killings.

Cirone last week ordered some of the paperwork released, but much of the information was deleted. The documents released Thursday indicated more information may be released Monday, but it was unclear what that would include.

Gregory Sullivan, one of the lawyers for the media, said he was pleased with the release, though he had hoped for access to all documents and will continue seeking disclosure.

``Any material that has been filed with the court in this case obviously is newsworthy,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Tulloch waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday, during which prosecutors had been expected to call witnesses to support the charges and provide a glimpse into the case they are building against him and Parker.

Tulloch's case now goes to Grafton County Superior Court, where prosecutors will seek a grand jury indictment against the teen-ager sometime in March or April.

Parker on Monday was arraigned in juvenile court and prosecutors began the process of certifying him to stand trial as an adult. Those proceedings are closed to the public.

An arriving dinner guest discovered the bodies of the victims in the study of their secluded, off-campus home. Authorities have said they believe the Zantops let the suspects into their home.

Tulloch and Parker were arrested Feb. 19 in Spiceland, Ind., following a three-day nationwide manhunt. They were captured while hitchhiking with truckers, trying to reach California.