CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire man sentenced to life in prison without parole as a teenager for killing his parents hopes a judge will reconsider the case and give him a lighter sentence.
WMUR-TV reports that a resentencing hearing in Strafford County Superior Court began Monday over whether Robert Dingman, who was 17 when he and his brother killed his parents, should serve 25 years. The Attorney General’s office wants Dingman to serve 50 years, citing the brutality of the crime.
Dingman and his younger brother, Jeffery Dingman, ambushed their parents in February 1996 as they arrived home from work on a Friday afternoon, hid the bodies in the attic and basement and spent the weekend playing and partying with friends before returning to school on Monday. They were arrested after their parents’ worried co-workers called police.
Jeffery Dingman, who was 14 at the time of the killing, got 30 years to life after he testified against his brother and was paroled in 2013. Jeffery Dingman said he shot his parents first but said Robert instigated the killings and taunted each before firing the fatal shots. Prosecutors said Robert chafed under his parents rules and curfews, and in the months leading up to the killings, the boys considered several outlandish plots, including poisoning their parents or pushing them onto thin ice.
The Foster’s Daily Democrat reports Robert Dingman is counting on testimony from a forensic psychologist who argued he shouldn’t be treated the same as an adult murderer because his brain was not fully formed. Senior Assistant Attorney General Jeff Strelzin disagreed and argued that the evidence showed that Dingman carefully planned the killings.
The resentencing follows a 2014 ruling by the New Hampshire Supreme Court that concluded that teenagers convicted of murder should receive new sentencing hearings. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court found it unconstitutional to sentence juvenile offenders to mandatory life imprisonment without parole.
Earlier this year, Eduardo Lopez Jr., 43, saw his sentence reduced for fatally shooting Robert Goyette in 1991 while trying to steal his car in Nashua. He was 17 when the crime happened and had been originally sentenced to life without parole. He will serve at least 45 years.