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Autumn Pasquale murder and trial

From NJ.com
By Bart Brooks / Website Staff on March 25, 2013 at 9:27 AM, updated July 16, 2013 at 10:06 AM



On Saturday, October 20, 2012, 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale was reported missing. After a brief, intense search, police found her body in a recycling container early Tuesday morning. Her death sent shockwaves through Clayton, the small town where she was from. Two teenage brothers were charged with her murder.

This is her story. Below you will find the South Jersey Times’ complete coverage, with supplemental stories from The Star-Ledger, of Autumn Pasquale’s disappearance, the discovery of her body, the resulting fallout, and the trial. You can also see all stories here.

Current status: The two young brothers accused of killing Autumn Pasquale are awaiting trial.


Finding the body
Murder and motive
Reaction by family, community
Funeral, memorials, and more
Murder trial
Pasquale family vs. the county; family infighting
Multimedia: Photo galleries, videos


Initially, authorities asked for help for anyone who had any information on the disappearance of missing Clayton girl Autumn Pasquale. She went missing on Saturday, October 20, 2012. She was last seen around 12:30 p.m., according to police, and relatives reported her missing at 9:30 p.m. that night.

Story links:
Missing: Autumn Pasquale, 12, of Clayton; police seek help in search
Search for 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale of Clayton continues
Autumn Pasquale still missing, vigil held in Clayton


After an exhaustive two day search, authorities announced that they had found the body of Autumn Pasquale in a recycling container in Clayton. Just hours earlier, family and friends had gathered for a vigil to pray for her safe return. She was just one week away from her 13th birthday.

Story links:
Police: Body of Autumn Pasquale found in recycling container in Clayton
Police on scene where Autumn Pasquale’s body was found in Clayton, bike found inside house


Two teenage boys, Donte and Justin Robinson, were charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, disposing of a body, tampering with evidence and theft. An autopsy revealed that Pasquale likely died of blunt force trauma, consistent with strangulation, and that there was no evidence of sexual assault. Authorities said that they believed the teenage boys wanted Pasquale’s bicycle and its parts.

It was also revealed that a Facebook post by one of the suspects invited Pasquale to his home when she expressed interest in a bike. Residents also said that one of the suspects attended a vigil where people prayed for her safe return, and that he “liked” her memorial page.

Arrest story links:
Father says he was questioned about sons’ possible involvement in Autumn Pasquale’s death
Autumn Pasquale’s death: Police charge 2 teenage brothers with murder

Motive story links:
Suspects in Autumn Pasquale’s shocking murder wanted girl’s bike, police say
Facebook conversation between Autumn Pasquale, suspect came 4 days before killing
Residents say accused killer of Autumn Pasquale attended vigil, ‘liked’ memorial Facebook page

Mourners sing at prayer vigil for Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 23, 2012 Friends and family gather to sing Amazing Grace at a prayer vigil for Autumn Pasquale in Clayton.


The news of the death sent shockwaves through the town. The family mourned the loss of the young girl; her uncle said that “out of evil will come goodness.” They were left with despair and frustration, and questions: how would they be able to rebuild their lives? Why wasn’t there an AMBER alert? Months after Pasquale’s death, her father was still searching for answers.

Immediate aftermath:
Death of missing N.J. girl shatters Clayton’s small-town charm
Autumn Pasquale’s murder: ‘Out of evil will come goodness’
Autumn Pasquale’s prayer service draws huge crowd of mourners, classmates

Clayton’s children, parents show signs of healing in wake of Autumn Pasquale murder
Mother of teens accused of killing Autumn Pasquale thanks supporters, blasts critics
Autumn Pasquale murder: Slain Clayton girl’s father ‘still in disbelief’


Autumn Pasquale was laid to rest on Saturday, October 27, one week after she was reported missing. Thousands turned out to mourn the death of the 12-year-old girl.

After her death, benefits and memorials took place to commemorate her life. A bike trail, for example, was named after her.

Viewing and funeral:
Autumn Pasquale’s life celebrated by thousands at funeral, burial services

Benefits and memorial links:
Autumn Pasquale Memorial Fund to be aided by motorcycle, bicycle events
Local Clayton residents organize ‘Run for Autumn’ to benefit Pasquale family
Gloucester County bike trail to memorialize slain Autumn Pasquale
County bike trail named for Autumn Pasquale; Clayton deems Oct. 29 ‘Autumn Pasquale Day’

Gloucester County prosecutor says Facebook posts led to arrests of teens charged with killing Autumn Pasquale Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton said posts on Facebook prompted the mother of two teenagers charged in the murder of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale to contact police about her disappearance. Dalton says Clayton is a strong community and residents should put their anger aside and let justice take its course.


Before the trial, the teenage suspects, Donte Robinson, 17, and his brother Justin Robinson, 15, were kept in juvenile detention, but the prosecutor sought to try them as adults.

The issue whether the court should be opened to the public was raised, but the judge denied media access. The judge also ruled against hair sampling to be used during the trial as evidence.

The Gloucester County prosecutor handed off the murder case to Camden County to prevent a potential conflict of interest mistrial from occurring, since the family intended to file suit against the county.

Trial arrangements:
Teen suspects in Autumn Pasquale’s murder kept in juvenile detention
Autumn Pasquale murder: Judge prohibits hair sampling for brothers accused of murder
Autumn Pasquale murder: Detention hearing held for brothers charged in murder

Open access:
Autumn Pasquale murder case: Attorneys argue juvenile court proceeding should be open
Autumn Pasquale: Judge denies media access to juvenile court in murder case

Transferring the case:
Autumn Pasquale’s murder: Gloucester County prosecutor hands off murder case to Camden County

Autumn Pasquale’s parents call for investigation into response Anthony Pasquale and Jennifer Cornwell, parents of Autumn Pasquale, call for an investigation into the response when Autumn was reported missing. (Video by John O’Boyle)


Grief turned to anger as Autumn Pasquale’s family turned their ire on Gloucester County officials for what they perceived to be a sluggish response to her disappearance. They particularly had issue with Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton, who oversaw the rescue and recovery effort.

Additionally, there was infighting within the family over the memorial fund, when their parents engaged in a litigation battle. The mother sued the father, saying she was cut out of the memorial fund established in her daughter’s name. It was ultimately settled out of court.

Family versus Gloucester County
Autumn Pasquale family calls for Attorney General’s investigation
Autumn Pasquale’s family rallies to block Gloucester County prosecutor reappointment, tweak missing minor laws

Family vs. family:
Autumn Pasquale’s murder: Father sued by mother over slain girl’s memorial fund – Update
Autumn Pasquale memorial fund dispute ends with mother vs. father law suit settlement


Below you will find all of the related multimedia to the Autumn Pasquale case.

Photo galleries:
Search for 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale of Clayton, Oct. 22, 2012
Candlelight vigil held for missing 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 22, 2012
Death of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale investigated, Oct. 23, 2012
Memorials for Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 24, 2012
Autumn Pasquale murder brings more than 1000 out to prayer gathering
The viewing and funeral for 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 27, 2012
Detention hearing for two juveniles charged in murder of Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 26, 2012

Police search a house after Autumn Pasquale’s body found
Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton speaks about the death of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale
Gloucester County prosecutor announces arrests in death of Autumn Pasquale
Gloucester County prosecutor says Facebook posts led to arrests of teens charged with killing Autumn Pasquale
Mourners sing at prayer vigil for Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 23, 2012
Prayer gathering for Autumn Pasquale, Oct. 23, 2012
Autumn Pasquale’s parents call for investigation into response
Crystal Seitz talks about Justin Robinson
Gloucester County Assistant Prosecutor speaks at Robinson boys detention hearing
Also see




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