Brothers accused of killing NJ girl remain held
WOODBURY, N.J. (AP) – Two teenage brothers accused of killing a 12-year-old New Jersey girl were ordered Friday to remain in a juvenile detention center, while the girl’s parents backed off their criticism of the way law enforcement had handled the case.
Friday’s detention hearing was the first court appearance for the teens since they were arrested Tuesday and charged with murdering Autumn Pasquale, who disappeared in her hometown of Clayton on Oct. 20.
Because it was in family court, the hearing was closed to the public and the media.
Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Michelle Jeneby said afterward that both boys were ordered to be detained until the next hearing, scheduled for Nov. 16. She would not say whether their lawyers asked for them to be released or give other details about what happened.
Because they are juveniles, authorities have not released the boys’ names. But neighbors and others in Clayton, a rural community of 8,000 located 25 miles south of Philadelphia, identify them as 17-year-old Dante Robinson and 15-year-old Justin Robinson.
Jeneby said her office intends to file papers to have the case moved to adult court. She said she did not expect the matter to be resolved for at least several weeks after that motion is made.
Authorities say the younger boy lured Autumn to their home to trade BMX bike parts last Saturday. She was last seen alive around 12:30 p.m. that day. Her family reported her missing nine hours later, after she missed her 8 p.m. curfew.
Over two days, some 200 law enforcement officials and hundreds more volunteers scoured Clayton and other areas for the girl. Her body was found in a recycling bin behind a vacant house next door to where the Robinsons live.
Paul Spadofora, a great uncle of the girl who was serving as family spokesman, had criticized the law enforcement response.
But by Friday, the girls’ parents and their spouses had hired lawyer Jaime Kaigh.
Kaigh, a criminal defense lawyer, said he was brought in to help the family deal with the case. He said Friday that he believed the prosecutor’s office handled the search and its aftermath appropriately.
Also Friday, The Associated Press and Interstate General Media, which owns The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, made a motion to have hearings in the case open to reporters because of intense public interest.
A hearing on that request is also scheduled for Nov. 16.
Meanwhile, a funeral for Autumn is planned for Saturday, with services in Glassboro and a burial in Clayton.
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