James Zarate was 14 when he and his brother Jonathan brutally murdered and dismembered their neighbor, 16-year-old Jennifer Parks, in 2005. The younger Zarate was tried as an adult and sentenced in 2009 to life in prison with the eligibility of parole after serving 76 years of his sentence.
Now a New Jersey judge has ordered a resentencing for James Zarate based on the recent court rulings that mandatory life without parole for teens in cruel and unusual. Let’s not forget how cruel and unusual the Zarate brothers were to Jennifer Parks. Not only did they stab and bludgeon her to death but they dismembered her body so they could stuff it in a trunk which they tried to throw into the Passaic River. That’s not even including how cruel and unusual Jennifer’s murder was to her family. Not only did Jennifer’s parents divorce after her murder but her father, David Parks, died of a heart attack only two years after Zarate’s conviction. I’m sure this order for resentencing has opened old wounds for the Parks family making them relive this nightmare again. Is that not cruel and unusual?
The only saving grace here is that out of the cases that I’m following none of the cases appealed on these recent rulings have resulted in reduced sentences.
Laurie Parks can’t appeal to have Jennifer brought back to her so James Zarate should not be returned to his family any time soon or ever.