CONCORD, N.H. — Jeffrey Dingman was barely 14 when he and his older brother, Robert, killed their parents in Rochester in 1996. Now 31, he is eligible for parole after spending more than half his life behind bars.
The brothers fatally shot their parents, Eve and Vance, as they arrived home from work on a Friday afternoon in February, wrapped the bodies in garbage bags and hid them in the attic and basement. The teens played and partied over the weekend, returned to school Monday and were arrested after their parents’ worried co-workers called police.
Robert Dingman, 17 at the time, is serving a life sentence after being convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy charges. Jeffrey, who had turned 14 just two weeks before the Feb. 9 killings, got 30 years to life in a plea deal and has a parole hearing scheduled for next week.
It’s unclear if he has a lawyer, but his former attorney, Philip McLaughlin, said Tuesday he remembers Jeffrey as a “little boy” who appeared to have no appreciation of the gravity of what had occurred. He has not seen or heard from Jeffrey since the day he told him he could no longer represent him because he was being named attorney general, and his previously-stoic client cried and clung to him.
“I think of a very, very slight boy who was effectively abandoned by everyone. I don’t think he had any visitors at all while locked up,” he said. “I had the impression at the time that he would’ve expected his parents to show up the next day.”
Jeffrey’s immaturity was one of the reasons prosecutors struck a deal with him, said U.S. Attorney John Kacavas, who was an assistant attorney general when he prosecuted the teens.
“We felt he was capable of redemption and rehabilitation because he was so young,” he said. “We could not feel that way about his brother.”