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Fate of Rochester man who killed parents as teen to be decided

Union Leader Correspondent

February 12. 2018 9:46PM

Robert Dingman was 17 when he killed his parents at his Rochester home. During his trial in May 1997, photographer Jim Cole of The Associated Press took this photo. (COURTESY)

Judge Tina Nadeau will take arguments made on behalf of convicted double murderer Robert Dingman into consideration. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

DOVER — The fate of a Rochester man who killed his parents in cold blood as a teenager will depend on whether his attorneys can successfully argue that 50 years to life in prison is unconstitutional.

Robert Dingman was 17 years old when he and his brother, Jeffrey, 14, killed their parents in February of 1996. During Robert Dingman’s first-degree murder trial, Jeffrey Dingman testified against his sibling in exchange for an 18-year sentence on two counts of second-degree murder.

An investigation into the deaths of Vance and Eve Dingman showed that the boys — fed up with rules and curfews — shot Vance Dingman three times, stuffing his body in a garbage bag and hiding it in the attic.

When Eve Dingman arrived home a few minutes later, both boys shot at her using their father’s .22 caliber pistol. Then Robert Dingman allegedly shot her in the head.

The brothers wrapped their mother’s body in garbage bags and hid it in the basement of their Old Dover Road home in Rochester.

According to reports from the time, after the double murder Jeffrey Dingman ate some Doritos and went to play basketball with a friend. Robert Dingman headed to his girlfriend’s house.

The teens told friends their parents had gone away for vacation, but investigators discovered the bodies after co-workers of Vance and Eve Dingman called the police Monday to report they were not at work.

Robert Dingman was tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in May of 1997.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences without parole for those under 18 at the time of their crimes violates the constitution.

The Attorney General’s office has suggested Robert Dingman be resentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

Jeffrey Dingman was granted parole in March of 2014, after serving almost 16 years behind bars.

On Monday afternoon, Robert Dingman’s defense attorney did not argue for a specific reduced sentence but said 50 years would mean the 39-year-old will never be able to have a chance to work or pursue other goals.

“A 50-year sentence denies any actual or real-life post release or post incarceration,” Meredith Lugo argued.

Erin Fitzgerald, who works for the Attorney General’s office, argued they are offering a meaningful opportunity for release.

“The state is not seeking life without parole. The state is seeking two, 25-year sentences,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald pointed out that Dingman, who has already served 20 years in prison, committed two murders.

Robert Dingman is being held at the State Prison for Men in Berlin and was able to watch the hearing via teleconference.

Judge Tina Nadeau said she would take the arguments under advisement.

Another motion hearing will be held this June, with resentencing scheduled for October, Lugo said.

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