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On a cold night in January 2001, the idyllic community of Dartmouth College was shattered by the discovery that two professors had been hacked to death in their own home. Investigators searched helplessly for clues linking the victims, Half and Susanne Zantop, to their murderer or murderers. The residents of Hanover, New Hampshire, speculated endlessly—could the killer be a disgruntled student? a spurned lover?—while the grisly nature of the crimes themselves destroyed, perhaps forever, the sanctity and invulnerability of their academic arcadia.
By contrast, the hardscrabble community of nearby Chelsea, Vermont, was relatively unaffected. The big news in Chelsea came when the school’s basketball star scored his 1,000th point on a Friday, three weeks after the murders. As parents and teenagers streamed into the night to celebrate after the game, a stunning scene stopped them in their tracks. Outside the house of high…[more]