While on the way to work one night, I happened to be listening to Steve Trevelise’s show around the time the 2 brothers, Justin and Dante Robinson, were arrested in the murder of Clayton 12 year old Autumn Pasquale.

A criminal lawyer called amidst the din of the many callers saying that the two should have been tried as adults. The lawyer’s take was that a plea deal, which had been in the works, was the best route to go, saying that it would have insured a conviction; and that it was possible the younger of the two would take the hit for the older brother who was known to have a diminished capacity.

Fast forward to the other day when the announcement came down as to the plea deal struck by prosecutors with Dante.

He was allowed to plead guilty to 4th degree obstruction of justice and sentenced to 6 months in jail, for which he was free to let go given time served.

The release has sparked fury and outrage, particularly on online forums including Facebook and on NJ.com, claiming the downgrade of charges is an injustice to Autumn’s family.
Some took to physical threats of violence, vowing to take justice outside of the courtroom.

Autumn’s father Anthony Pasquale has refused to comment on Dante’s obstruction charge.

The fiery comments could just be the strong emotions of those closely connected to the case and the Pasquale family.

The rally grounds of the municipal building — where vigils where held in Autumn's honor when the girl first disappeared. The peaceful rally was meant to channel emotions related to
Justin's sentencing and Dante's release into support for Autumn's family.

Dante’s homecoming has been bittersweet for the teen’s mother, who welcomed one son home this week and spoke at Justin’s sentencing two weeks ago, calling Autumn’s death an accident. Days after Autumn disappeared, Anita Robinson tipped police off to her sons’ possible involvement in the murder after reading the brothers’ alarming Facebook posts, police have said.

It is not clear if Dante is back at the East Clayton Avenue home where Autumn was killed by his brother. His family would not confirm Dante’s whereabouts, but to say Dante is “going to try his best to resurrect his life.”

I’ve always felt that taking a plea deal was taking the easy way out; but given the circumstances of the case, the plea deal was the best of all possible outcomes.

The Camden County Prosecutor's Office said they did not have enough evidence to prove at trial -- beyond a reasonable doubt -- that Justin killed her.

Had the case stayed in juvenile court, Justin would have faced a maximum sentence of 20 years and could have been out in seven -- if convicted at all.

In short, better not to roll the dice, in my opinion. You might be a better gambler than me!

Do you feel the plea deal in the Autumn Pasquale case was better than having the case toing to trial?