Clayton, NJ – One of the teenage brothers accused of murdering 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter Wednesday, admitting he alone strangled the girl inside his parents’ home.
Last October, Autumn Pasquele was reported missing after leaving her home on her BMX bicycle and not returning home for curfew. Two days later, her body was found stuffed inside a garbage bin five blocks from her home. She’d been beaten and strangled to death.
Two brothers – 15-year-old Justin Robinson and 17-year-old Donte Robinson – were charged with Autumn’s murder the next day after their mother read a suspicious Facebook post and contacted police.
Authorities said Autumn brought her bike to the boys’ home after Justin Robinson invited her there to work on her bike and exchange parts. Justin admitted to this in court on Wednesday, and admitted to choking the girl to death.
“I lured a girl I knew was Autumn to the house with Facebook messages,” Robinson said in court. “I put my hands around her neck to choke her. I realized it could’ve caused her death, and I understand it did.”
Robinson also said he acted alone and that his brother had no idea what was going on. While some reports are that the boys killed Autumn so they could get parts off of her BMX bike, Camden County Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk said Robinson still has not given a motive for killing the girl.
As part of his plea deal, Justin could get 17 years behind bars, 85 percent of which must be served before parole eligibility. Which, if I remember my percentages correctly, means Justin will probably be back out on the streets before he is 30. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Sept. 12.
Faulk called the plea agreement “fair and equitable in the interest of justice.” He went on to explain that they had strong evidence that Autumn was murdered in the brothers’ house, proving without reasonable doubt that Justin was the killer “would have been difficult.”
Autumn’s parents, who made the news when they began squabbling over the money raised by the community to help bury their daughter, were quiet in court, others in the community are not too happy with the plea deal.
“We all knew (Justin Robinson) did it,” said Sheryl Conti, whose daughter was Autumn’s best friend. “We all feel like he’s getting away with murder … I mean, 17 years? And in 13 years, that little murderer gets away with it.”
But according to Faulk, that’s a lot better than what would have happened if Justin’s case had remained in juvenile court. There he only faced a maximum sentence of 20 years and would only have to serve seven years before being eligible for parole.
As for Donte, well I don’t think anyone is going to be very happy with his punishment either. Especially since his brother has admitted he was the sole killer and the fact that Donte’s case has not been moved to adult court.Tags: Autumn Pasquele, Crime, Donte Robinson, Justin Robinson, jvenile, Murder, Strangulation