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Autumn Pasquale Murder Case Moving Toward Waiver Hearing for Defendants – Should the Teens be Prosecuted as Adults? [POLL]

Autumn Pasquale (Clayton Police)
Autumn Pasquale (Clayton Police)

This is the question that’s been going through the minds of a good many people who’ve either called or written the station.

What of the Autumn Pasquale case: the 12 year old girl allegedly killed by two teenage brothers when she reportedly was looking for some bicycle parts. Her body was discovered in a recycling bin next to the teens’ home.

Right now prosecutors are waiting for there to be a hearing as to whether the trial of the two defendants should be held in adult court.

According to this report, the process is agonizingly slow, especially given that the case is being tried by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office instead of the Gloucester County Prosecutor.

When the crime was originally reported, the question went out as to whether the two teens should be tried as adults or as juveniles. How do you feel about that now?

According to this:

Court activity in the Autumn Pasquale murder case is moving, while slowly, toward a hearing that would decide if juvenile defendants are transferred to open adult court, according to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office.

“We are looking at waiving the defendants and that hasn’t happened yet,” prosecutor’s office spokesman Jason Laughlin said Tuesday. “That is where the court activity is moving towards.”

A waiver hearing date has not yet been set, however, a detention hearing is set for July 24 for juveniles Justin and Dante Robinson, who are held at the pre-trial Camden County Youth Facility.

It’s been about five weeks since a discovery hearing.

The brothers, who were 15- and 17-years-old when arrested last fall, have been charged with the murder of the 12-year-old Clayton Middle School student.

Autumn was reported missing in October after leaving her father’s Clayton home on her bicycle. After a massive days-long search, the pre-teen’s remains were discovered in a recycling bin on an abandoned property next to the Robinsons’ house.

The boys were arrested hours after Autumn’s body was found.

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Despite Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office’s involvement in the search for the girl, the case was transferred to the Camden County Prosecutor in February after the Pasquale family filed a tort claim notice against the Gloucester office. The notice informs government agencies of potential civil lawsuits.

“It’s not a common occurrence for one prosecutor’s office to take on a case from another,” Laughlin said, acknowledging that the process of prosecuting this case is “not a speedy one.”

Autumn’s remains were discovered and the brothers were arrested just under nine months ago. An average case takes about 18 months to go to trial, Laughlin said.

“A homicide is going to take a lot longer,” he added. “For there to be a two-year gap between the event and the crime itself … it’s not unusual.”

Plus, prosecuting juvenile defendants adds an extra step.

Juvenile cases are typically closed to the public and media. Family Division Superior Court Judge Colleen Maier, seated in Gloucester County, also prohibited all involved parties from speaking publicly about case details.

Despite the Camden County prosecutor picking up the case, it will continue to be litigated in Maier’s Gloucester County Justice Complex courtroom.

“There is an obligation to provide a quick trial. We still need to make sure we are thorough,” Laughlin said.

Besides the decision as to whether to try the two as adults or juveniles; there’s also the added question as to whether the trial, whenever it happens, will become the media event the Zimmerman trial was.

My guess: probably not!

In any event, do you feel the two defendants accused of murdering Autumn Pasquale should be tried as adults?

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