It was 11 years ago today that 16-year-old Jennifer Parks, of Randolph, New Jersey, was brutally murdered by her neighbors, James and Jonathan Zarate. It may then be somewhat fitting that yesterday Jonathan Zarate had his latest sentencing appeal denied. Jonathan Zarate was 18 at the time of Jennifer’s murder and was convicted and sentenced to life in 2009.
Zarate’s latest appeal claimed that his counsel was ineffective by not further pursuing an insanity defense. The courts ruled that Zarate’s counsel did adequately pursue those options before pursuing a defense of diminished capacity.
Someone asked me earlier today if there is one particular crime that I’ve posted about that sticks out in my mind. That answer will always be Jennifer’s murder. Not only was it particularly violent, but it’s probably the most senseless murder I’ve ever posted about. Jennifer had so much potential to bring the world and the fact that she wasn’t able to is a travesty.