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Six months after two Dartmouth College professors were slain in their home, prosecutors are leaning toward burglary gone awry as a motive, The Associated Press learned Wednesday. The two teen-age suspects had been accused of burglaries in the past and had no other known connection to Half and Susanne Zantop, a high-ranking law enforcement official said. “We’re more comfortable with that theory than any other because there’s not anything that’s more persuasive,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official wouldn’t elaborate on the previous burglary accusations because both youths were juveniles at the time. The Zantops were found stabbed to death Jan. 27 in their Hanover home. Two Chelsea, Vt., teen-agers — Robert Tulloch, 18, and James Parker, 17 — are charged with the murders. Cathy Green, a lawyer for Parker, said she could not comment on evidence because her client was a juvenile — 16 — at the time of the crimes. Prosecutors are seeking to have Parker tried as an adult. “There has been a lot of misinformation in this case that’s been attributed to anonymous sources, in particular police sources,” Green said. “If we ever get out of juvenile court, I’ll be glad to talk to you.” Lawyers for Tulloch did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Half Zantop, 62, taught earth science at Dartmouth. Susanne Zantop, 55, chaired the German studies department. The youths were arrested Feb. 19 at a truck stop in Indiana following a nationwide manhunt. When Tulloch’s trial begins in January, it is possible no concrete motive will be offered, the law enforcement source told the AP. DNA evidence will be offered by prosecutors, the source said. According to court documents, police found two knives stained with the victims’ blood in Tulloch’s bedroom. Fingerprints and footprints inside and outside the Zantops’ home also tie Tulloch and Parker to the slayings, court documents say. A judge has ordered Tulloch to submit blood, hair and handwriting samples to prosecutors to compare with evidence found at the scene, but defense lawyers are fighting the order. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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