Testifying at his brother’s trial, Jeffrey calmly admitted shooting his parents first but said Robert instigated the killings and finished off both parents, taunting each before firing the fatal shots. Prosecutors said Robert chafed under his parents’ rules and curfews, and Jeffrey described being yelled at repeatedly by his mother and hit by his father, both 40, over bad grades. In the months leading up to the killings, the boys considered several outlandish plots, including poisoning their parents or pushing them onto thin ice, Jeffrey testified.
“The various schemes that children of that age try to conjure up are so immature and foolish, you can’t really conceive of what they actually followed through with,” Kacavas said. “They were incomprehensible acts.”
Kacavas said the lack of remorse displayed by either teen was “the most profound aspect of the case.” Vance Dingman’s sister Darlyn said this week she hopes the parole board takes that into account, as well as the brutality of the crimes, when deciding whether her nephew should be released.
“Personally, we wish he had fried, but that didn’t happen,” she said. “He should not be let out. He’s as guilty as his brother.”
She and other relatives have said the Dingmans were devoted parents who took their sons to Disney World and never missed a soccer game.
“These boys were raised just like everyone else,” she said. “Their parents loved them, they did everything for them. We don’t know what went wrong. They weren’t abused, they weren’t deprived, they had everything they could’ve wanted.”
McLaughlin said he has no idea what kind of parents the Dingmans were, but reasonable adults know that things are not always as simple as they seem. And he urged others to take a compassionate view.
“If young Mr. Dingman has grown into a man deserving of parole, then I suspect he will be granted parole, and I’d wish for him what I’d wish for anybody else,” he said. “And that is: to move on, do his best to contribute and lead a good life.”