Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teenage Suspects in Slaying Were Smart, Pranksters

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teenage Suspects in Slaying Were Smart, Pranksters

Article excerpt

CHELSEA, Vt. -- One way or another, Rob Tulloch and James Parker have been partners for nearly a decade -- rafting rivers, climbing mountains and debating for their high school team.

According to friends and neighbors, the pair did everything together. According to authorities, that included murder.

Tulloch, 17, and Parker, 16, known around Chelsea mostly for their cocky, mischievous attitudes, are accused of killing two Dartmouth College professors in their Hanover, N.H., home three weeks ago. The teens were arrested Monday at an Indiana truck stop.

Authorities have refused to discuss a motive or any connection between the boys and the victims, who were stabbed repeatedly. Friends and acquaintances in this isolated town of 1,200 people are grasping for an explanation.

To them, Parker was the class clown and Tulloch was an honors student who had earned enough credits at Chelsea Public School to graduate early.

"Whatever he did, there was a reason for it," said Kip Battey, Tulloch's friend and a fellow debater. "He's really smart, very logical. Everything he did, there was a reason for it."

Both boys come from respected families. Their fathers are carpenters, and Parker's was known for his work with the community's recreation program. He also coached basketball and helped build the town's soccer and baseball fields.

"These kids were average teenagers," said John Upham, owner of a variety store. "There was nothing extraordinary about them. There was nothing that would lead you to believe that they could do the crime they are accused of."

But not everyone speaks so highly of the boys. Some suggested their families were too permissive.

"This does not surprise me in the least," Robert Childs, the town property assessor, told The Boston Globe. "These kids weren't coming home from a job after school. These kids were unsupervised and on the streets.

"They aren't pillars of the community. Jimmy Parker wasn't quite wild, but his parents were permissive, [and he's] shunned by a major population of the school. …

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