Resentence order gets convicted parent killer out at 57

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Defense attorney Meredith Lugo confers with convicted parent killer Robert Dingman during his resentencing hearing earlier this month in Strafford County Superior Court. (Rochester Voice photo)

DOVER - Convicted parent killer Robert Dingman's resentencing order handed down Tuesday means he could get out of prison when he's 57 years old, but for Senior Assistant Attorney Jeffery Strelzin, it wasn't about Dingman.

It was about justice for his mom and dad, Vance and Eve Dingman, who were brutally murdered on a cold Friday afternoon in February of 1996.

Testimony revealed that the then 17-year-old Dingman, along with his younger brother Jeffrey, who was 14, took turns fatally shooting and taunting their mother and father inside their Rochester home on Old Dover Road on Feb. 6, 1996, because they saw their parents' disciplinary style as too strict.

Under Tuesday's resentencing order by Superior Court Judge Tina Nadeau, Robert Dingman will serve 20 years to life for each murder, which means he can get out of prison in 17 years.

Defense attorney Meredith Lugo, who represented Dingman, had wanted a 25-year sentence for both murders, while Strelzin wanted him to serve 20 years to life for each.

"Our goal from start was to get justice for Vance and Eve," Strelzin said Tuesday afternoon shortly after Nadeau handed down the sentence. "This helps accomplish that."

Dingman got his second chance at sentencing due to a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that concluded life without parole was cruel and unusual punishment for juvenile offenders.

When Dingman killed his parents in February 1996 he was 17 and considered an adult, which is why he was able to get life without parole. But since 1996, New Hampshire law shifted the age of adulthood to 18, paving the way for the resentencing.

Earlier this month during the two-day resentencing hearing Dingman took the stand in his own behalf telling the court that his conscious decision making hadn't fully formed when he was 17 and committed the vicious murders along with his then 14-year-old brother, Jeffrey.

Strelzin noted in his opening statements that Robert Dingman was the mastermind of the plot to kill Vance and Eve Dingman on a Friday night in February. He argued that Jeffrey was much younger, a follower of his older brother and easily manipulated.

During the 1997 trial Jeffrey Dingman said his older brother instigated the killings, which they carried out using their father's .22 caliber handgun.

Jeffrey Dingman has been out on parole since March 2014.

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