Lawyer: NJ teen charged in girl's slaying released

Associated Press

CLAYTON, N.J. (AP) — The brother of a New Jersey teenager who admitted killing a 12-year-old girl who wanted to trade bike parts has been released from a juvenile jail.

Dante Robinson had been charged with murder in the death of Autumn Pasquale.

His 16-year-old brother, Justin, pleaded guilty last month to aggravated manslaughter and was sentenced this month to 17 years in prison. He said he acted alone when he strangled Autumn after luring her to his Clayton home in October 2012. The girl's disappearance set off a massive search in the small town 25 miles south of Philadelphia.

Attorney Chris Hoffner told the South Jersey Times the 17-year-old was released from custody on Tuesday. He said his client admitted no crime and wasn't involved in the girl's death or moving her body.

Dante Robinson's release suggests that he reached a plea deal on a lesser charge, but authorities would not comment because juvenile court dispositions for minor offenses are confidential.

Jaime Kaigh, a lawyer for Autumn's mother, told The Associated Press that the family hopes the end of the criminal case brings "closure and healing."

Before Justin Robinson's sentencing hearing, several friends of Autumn's family expressed frustration that the teen who admitted to the killing was not getting a longer sentence.

Prosecutors said that because of his age and developmental disabilities, it was not certain that a judge would have ordered the case moved to adult court. And if he had been convicted of murder as a juvenile, he could have been paroled in as few as seven years.

They also said there was no physical evidence to show which of the brothers had killed the girl.

It was the brothers' mother who contacted authorities after seeing something that bothered her on one of their social media accounts as the community searched for Autumn.

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