NEW CASTLE, Ind. -- Waiting in the pre-dawn cold at a truck stop, two teen-agers wanted for the slayings of two popular Dartmouth College professors were expecting a lift from a truck driver.
Instead, a police officer who overheard a CB radio message from another trucker, James Hicks, who said the two teens were looking for a ride to California, arranged for the boys to be driven to the county jail.
"I actually didn't expect it to be them, but I thought it was worth checking out," Sgt. William Ward said Monday.
Ward pretended to be a trucker and radioed Hicks to drop the teens off at the Flying J Plaza on Interstate 70 for a 4 a.m. pickup. Instead of a tractor trailer, two deputies arrived.
James Parker, 16, and Robert Tulloch, 17, were captured before dawn Monday, more than 700 miles from the site of the Hanover, N.H., slayings.
Both face adult charges of two counts of first-degree murder in the Jan. 27 stabbing deaths of professors Half and Susanne Zantop.
Hicks, who had been hauling a load of M&M candy to Chicago, said he decided to give the pair a ride from Columbia, N.J., because they reminded him of his 17- and 13-year-old sons at home, and a 14-year-old son killed in a motorcycle accident in October. He told The Boston Globe he "just felt sorry for them."
Hicks was fired because of his company's strict policy against picking up hitchhikers.
The teens were to appear in court Tuesday for an extradition hearing. Parker's attorney, Robert Katims, said no decision had been made on whether the boys would waive extradition.
Parker's parents and New Hampshire police visited the prison Monday night, but didn't comment to reporters.
"We love our son and we want the press to know that he's innocent until proven guilty," Tulloch's mother, Diane, told The Dartmouth, a student newspaper.
Authorities have refused to discuss a motive or any connection between the boys and the victims, who were stabbed repeatedly in their home.
Orange County, Vt., Sheriff Dennis McClure said the boys became suspects in the Dartmouth case after authorities learned one had bought a military-style knife on the Internet.
The boys were asked last Thursday to come in and provide their fingerprints, which they did voluntarily. They are believed to have left their hometown of Chelsea, Vt., the same day. Arrest warrants for both were issued and a manhunt began during the weekend.
A car belonging to Parker's parents was found Sunday at Sturbridge, Mass.
The boys told Hicks when he picked them up in New Jersey that they had hitchhiked to Massachusetts to look for work but were returning to California because they'd had no luck, Ward said.
They didn't seem particularly scared, just "worn out," said Hicks, 45, of Sumter, S.C. "They didn't want to talk. I didn't even get their names."
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