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Teen gets 17 years for girl's strangling death

A 16-year-old defendant has been sentenced to a 17-year prison sentence in connection with his role in the murder of a pre-teen girl. The young man had been charged with several felonies in connection with the case, which reportedly also involved the defendant's older brother. The girl went missing and was found dead in October 2012, according to official reports.

News articles show that the New Jersey girl went missing in late October after she took her bike over to the defendants' home to exchange some parts. A massive hunt for the 12-year-old victim confirmed that the worst had happened when the girl's body was found in a recycling bin next to the defendants' home. The older brother's charges are still pending, but the younger defendant admitted to the court that he had lured the young woman to his home, killing her by strangling.

The young man will begin his sentence in a youth corrections facility, which will provide him with an extra measure of protection. The defendant, who pleaded guilty to the murder charges, will also be required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for any kind of release. Family members of the victim said the sentence was too light. They thought the young man deserved the death penalty. In addition, the defendant's mother was booed when she gave a statement explaining that the incident had not been correctly characterized by the media or the courts. The young man's low IQ and other mental disabilities were brought up during the two-hour sentencing hearing, although it is unclear whether those factors had any bearing on the duration of the sentence.

Interestingly, the prosecution team stated months ago that a conviction in the case would have been all but impossible if the teen had not confessed. This could bring up questions about whether detectives in the case improperly interrogated the young man, as little physical evidence actually ties him to the scene. Even though the defendant was accused of a horrific crime, he still deserves the extra legal protection afforded to all minors.

Source: www.nj.com, "Autumn Pasquale murder: Judge sentences Justin Robinson to 17 years" Tim Hawk, Sep. 12, 2013

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