The Dartmouth Murders
One Smirks, the Other Weeps
In March 2002, Rob decided to drop the insanity defense and plead guilty to the murders. Insanity defenses are long shots even with solid evidence of mental illness. In a Boston Globe article, Marcella Bombardieri and Douglas Belkin reported that his attorney indicated Rob "wanted to spare his family the trauma of a trial."
With his guilty plea, Rob was accepting a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He still had to be formally sentenced in court. Officials scheduled Jim's sentencing for the same date, allowing people to see a sharp contrast between these two murderers.
Bombardieri and Belkin wrote that when Veronika Zantop, her sister at her side, described her "absolute horror, disbelief, pain, sadness, and anger" at the murder of her parents, Jim wept and asked to address the Zantop sisters.
"I'm sorry," he said, obviously struggling with his emotions. "There's not much more I can say. I'm just really, really sorry."
The Boston Globe reporters continue, "Tulloch, presenting the image of an iron-cold killer, locked eyes with the sisters and the Zantops' friends in the courtroom. He wore a faint smirk throughout his hearing, showed no remorse, and did not make a statement."