Prosecutors reached a plea deal in the murder of Autumn Pasquale. One of the brothers was released from prison while the other was sentenced to 17 years.
Through a spokesman, Dante Robinson and his family relayed their “deepest and most sincere condolences” to Autumn Pasquale’s family Wednesday for their family’s role in the Clayton girl’s death last year.
“They are extremely sad and remorseful that any of their loved ones played a role in this horrific event,” Stanley King, an attorney spokesman for the Robinson family told the South Jersey Times. “There is no doubt this is a horrific thing that took place.”
Dante and his brother Justin — then 17 and 15 — were arrested last year and charged with murdering Autumn Pasquale. The girl went missing on Oct. 20. After a massive community-wide search, the 12-year-old’s remains were discovered in a blue recycling bin on East Clayton Avenue on an abandoned property next door to the Robinson home.
Police said the girl has been strangled in the basement of the Robinson’s house.
Last month Justin Robinson, now 16, pleaded guilty in adult court to aggravated manslaughter after admitting sole responsibility for luring Autumn to his house to exchange bike parts. He also admitted that he was the only one responsible for strangling the pre-teen.
He was sentenced on Sept. 12 to a 17-year state prison sentence of which 85 percent, or about 14.5 years, must be served before parole eligibility.
Dante was released Tuesday from the Camden County Youth Facility where he had been jailed for 11 months since the murder. He pleaded guilty to fourth degree obstruction before Gloucester County Family Division Superior Court Judge Colleen Maier, who issued a six-month sentenced with time served.
King, flanked by the boys’ mother Anita Saunders and step-father Richard Saunders, spoke to media Wednesday outside the family’s East Clayton Avenue home where Autumn was killed.
“Dante and his family, through the entire proceedings, always maintained his innocence. (Anita Saunders) is extremely happy that he is home with his family where he belongs,” King told the Times in a phone interview. “Quite honestly, he is also a victim. He has been in jail for most of a year. His name is being thrown about as if he had something to do with a young girl’s murder and this is just not the case. And I think everyone knew that early on.”
King would not say if Dante is in Clayton at his family’s home.
According to King, the family is concerned for Dante’s safety amid threats of violence since the teen’s release.