Reported by Matt Skoufalos.
One of the two brothers accused of killing Clayton resident Autumn Pasquale in 2012 has voluntarily waived himself up to adult court and is taking a plea deal in the case, a source in the courtroom said Wednesday.
Justin Robinson, who was 15 when the incident occurred, will face the possibility of 17 years in state prison in pleading guilty to aggravated manslaughter, the source said.
In pleading guilty, Robinson indicated in a signed statement he acted alone, and his older brother had no idea what was going on. Robinson also said his mother and stepfather weren't home when Pasquale was killed.
“I lured a girl I knew was Autumn to the house with Facebook messages,” Robinson said in court, where both his family and Pasquale's family were gathered. “I put my hands around her neck to choke her. I realized it could've caused her death, and I understand it did.”
Pasquale, 12, was killed in October 2012. The Clayton community launched a massive search for her when she was reported missing after leaving home to ride her bike. Her body was found in a recycling bin days later.
The case added another wrinkle when Pasquale’s family—critical from the start of the law enforcement operation to find Autumn—threatened to take the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office to court in a civil lawsuit. That prompted the case to change hands to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, which is now handling the prosecution.
The case is still being tried in Gloucester County, and Judge Walter L. Marshall Jr. is handling the proceedings.
Robinson will be sentenced Sept. 12 at 9 a.m. in open court.
There's no word yet on what will happen with the other brother, the courtroom source said.
Additional reporting by Lauren Burgoon.