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Special Event

Dartmouth Killings: New Hampshire Attorney General Holds Press Conference

Aired February 19, 2001 - 12:17 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We take you live now to New Hampshire for this attorney general's news conference on the arrest of two suspects in the Zantop murders.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

PHILIP MCLAUGHLIN, NEW HAMPSHIRE ATTORNEY GENERAL: ... personally this morning with Mariana (ph), from New York, and have been unsuccessful in speaking with Veronica (ph), but I expect to speak to her shortly. And I have confirmed to Mariana that this morning at 4:00, off Interstate 70 at an intersection with Route 3 in Indiana, Henry county, Indiana, sheriffs took into custody the two young men whom we had been seeking: James Parker, whose date of birth is 5-24-84, and Robert Tulloch, whose date of birth is 5-8-83.

I spoke about an 1 1/2 hours ago with Sheriff Kim Cronk, who is the high sheriff of Henry County, Indiana, and expressed to him our extraordinary appreciation for the good work of his deputies. I also had occasion to speak personally with Sgt. William Ward, W-A-R-D, of the Henry County, Indiana, Sheriff's Department, who was the sergeant in charge at the time that these two young men were taken into custody. He was in company at that time with Deputy Landon (ph), L-A- N-D-O-N, Dean and Deputy Chris Newkirk (ph), N-E-W-K-I-R-K.

I spoke to Sgt. Ward at some length about the circumstances that lead to this arrest. You are all familiar -- all too familiar, I think -- with the fact that I -- I often or the people who work for the state often tell I what the limits are of what we can and can't say to you, governed by Supreme Court rule. I'm in a situation this morning where I'm pleased to be able to tell you I can give you some information regarding the nature of the arrest in this case.

And I do it because I think it's, on its own, it's remarkable, because there could have been any number of thousands of police officers, sheriffs or state police officers throughout the country who might have been responsible for what I think we all considered inevitable, and that is the arrest of these two young men.

What I found remarkable in speaking to Sgt. Ward was how normal and how uncommon he thought this extraordinary service was. He told me the following story. He said that when he came on his watch, in the early morning hours, he had seen a news item on CNN and had seen photos of these two young men whose photos are behind me. And he thought to himself that his county was, in fact, on Interstate 70, between the East Coast, as he put it, in New Jersey, and the West Coast, and thought that it would just be possible that these young men might be in his county.

So he did what I suspect many police officers did overnight. He made his way toward a truck stop. And somewhat remarkably, he said that as he did so he had his CB on and that he was listening to CB broadcasts of the truckers out on the interstate. And one of them remarked to him -- or remarked, that is, to anyone listening, as the sheriff put it, can anybody give a ride to two boys who want to go to California from New Jersey? And he picked up his CB, as he said, and said, sure, I can, and suggested that they meet at the truck stop.

So he went to the truck stop and was joined by two other sheriffs. They tried to act surreptitiously in not having their cars be easily seen. They made an inquiry and found that the boys had left one truck and were headed to -- toward others. By the time Sgt. Ward found where they were, they were at that time in the custody of the two other deputies, deputies Dean and Newkirk, and were taken into custody without any kind of struggle or resistance, and have been transported to police facilities in Henry County, where they are currently being detained.

I think that, if you could appreciate the sense of obligation that all of us here have had toward this case, that we want to all especially thank those deputies for what they did this morning, Sheriff Kim Cronk for the excellent way in which he has cooperated with us.

At the present time, we have both prosecutors from my office and major crimes investigators from the New Hampshire State Police in transit to Indiana. And I would expect that they would be there midafternoon.

In addition to especially thanking those individuals, I would like to take a moment and to acknowledge that this is a turning point in this particular case.

The investigation to identify those individuals whom we believe are responsible for the deaths of the Zantops has gotten to a critical point, where we identified youngsters, in this case, who we believed responsible. We have apprehended them. And now we will begin the prosecutorial phase of the case.

And before that occurs, I want to give special thanks and recognition to some of the agencies which have been involved. First, to an agency that is not represented here today. Attorney General Bill Sorrell from Vermont and his criminal investigators and criminal prosecutors have been instrumental in assisting us, and I want to give special thanks to the Vermont Attorney General's Office and to the Vermont State Police for the excellent work which they have done for us and the support that they have given to us. We really could have asked for no more.

I want to especially express appreciation through Special Agent in Charge John Pistole of the Boston office of the FBI for the excellent help given throughout the course of this investigation by the FBI. They have been extraordinary in their assistance to us.

Likewise, to Chief Nick Giaconne (ph) of the Hanover Police Department, who, from the first moment of the first day, has been an stalwart. And as I said to him this morning that I doubted that he could have foreseen this kind of tragedy occurring in his town. But from the first moment, he and his department have just been extraordinary in the assistance that they have rendered to us.

Likewise, the New Hampshire State Police, with Col. Sloper (ph) and his extraordinary group of forensic experts and State Police investigators for major crimes. They have just done a wonderful job, and I express my appreciation and the state's appreciation to each of those individuals and each of those agencies.

I also want to extend for a moment my appreciation and respect for the professionalism of the attorneys and agents who have worked this case most closely, prosecutors from my office led by senior assistant A.G. (ph) and homicide chief Kelly Ayotte and the other officers from my office, and the lead investigators from the New Hampshire State Police, who have been just extraordinary.

What I'm going to do now is I'm going to introduce the senior law enforcement officers who were here. They have some remarks to make from their perspective with regard to this investigation. Thereafter, I'll entertain questions and simply begin that portion of this conference by explaining to you the context and restraints that we operate under in answering questions which would be case-specific.

John.

JOHN PISTOLE, ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, BOSTON FBI: Thank you, attorney general.

Again, my name is John Pistole. I'm assistance special agent in charge of the Boston FBI. My purpose in being here today is to talk about the extraordinary cooperation among law enforcement agencies and American citizens who have come together to help locate these two individuals.

Specifically, of course, the New Hampshire State Police and the Hanover Police, along with the FBI, working as part of this Hanover homicide task force, have gone to extraordinary lengths, literally working around the clock, working tirelessly in tracking down leads in trying to locate these two individuals. I want to express appreciation to the Vermont State Police for all they've done, to the Massachusetts State Police, to the New Jersey State Police, to the Pennsylvania State Police, and, had it gone a little bit further, to the Indiana State Police in tracking down the information that we had.

As you know, there were a number of people involved. I also want to thank members of the trucking industry in general, without going into any specifics, but for their extraordinary cooperation in helping us not only locate specifically where these two individuals have been and traveled with the exact location and times that we were able to piece together through the trucking industry's assistance in tracking these individuals down eventually to Indiana; and the extraordinary work of the Henry County Sheriff's Office in Indiana.

There were a number of FBI agents who were involved literally across the country in this fugitive investigation. As you know, there were the state murder warrants issued for the two individuals. And then federal Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution, what we call UFAP, warrants were also issued, which gave the FBI the authority to conduct fugitive investigations and use all the resources available to us to do that.

And to that end, FBI agents up and down the Eastern seaboard, across the Midwest, and some other offices, participated in this fugitive investigation, which came together obviously very successfully.

I especially want to thank the individuals here, the detectives, the troopers and the agents as part of the task force who have worked so hard in bringing this to fruition, and give them special thanks for their efforts and, again, as the attorney general said, try to respond to any questions you may have after additional comments.

Thank you.

KAGAN: We've been listening to comments from New Hampshire on the arrest of two teenagers, James Parker, who's 16, and Robert Tulloch, 17, arrested in connection with the murders of the two Dartmouth professors who were killed in their own home on Jan. 27 -- Half and Susanne Zantop.

These two teenagers found in kind of a remarkable way. Police had put out word and the FBI had put out word across the country that they believed the two teenagers were making their way by hitchhiking from truck to drug across country. And an alert sergeant in Henry County, Indiana keeping his ears open. And he was listening to CB talk and heard one trucker talking about how he had two teenage boys with him and looking for another ride. An alert sergeant then going ahead and setting the motion to make the arrest.

And, once again, this 16-year-old James Parker and the 17-year- old Robert Tulloch being extradited -- in the process of being extradited back to New Hampshire, where they will face first degree murder charges.

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