James Zarate was 14 when he helped his older brother, Jonathan Zarate, brutally beat, stab, kill and dismember 16-year-old Jennifer Parks of Randolph, New Jersey. The Zarate brothers then stuffed Jennifer’s mutilated body into a trunk and waited 24 hours before trying to dump her body in the Passaic River.
Jonathan Zarate was sentenced to life plus 24 years. James Zarate was sentenced to life plus 14. Recently, James Zarate, had his conviction upheld, but his sentence was reduced by nine years.
James Zarate will have nine years of his sentence reduced because time on a weapons conviction will now run concurrently with the murder conviction, the appellate court decided last week.
Don’t worry about the younger Zarate getting out any time soon. A life sentence in New Jersey is 76 years. Tack on the additional 5 (14 minus 9) and he would have to be close to 100 before he was even considered for release.
Since Jennifer’s murder, her parents divorced and her father passed away last year. I can’t imagine the kind of strain that a murder like this can put on a family let alone a marriage and not to mention Laurie and David Parks as individuals. I defy anyone to try to tell me that James Zarate was a victim in all of this just because of his age. The only victims here are the Parks family.