A week and a half after their arrest, the two South Jersey teenage brothers accused of murdering 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale may face adult charges.
The Gloucester County prosecutor is asking for the minors to be tried in regular, not juvenile court. The formula for doing so in New Jersey is fairly straightforward.
“The older you are and the more serious the crime is, the more likely it is or the easier it is for a child to be tried in adult court,” said J.C. Lore, a professor at Rutgers-Camden law school and the co-director of the Children’s Justice Clinic.
Lore says the prosecution will have to address the 17-year-old and the 15-year-old separately.
For the 17-year-old, they must establish probable cause that ties him to Pasquale’s murder.
For the 15-year-old, they must do the same, but the defense then has a chance to show that thier client could be rehabilitated by the juvenile system.
Even in a crime as heinous as this, Lore said, minors can be rehabbed.
“There’s a lot of research and a lot of data out there that shows that kids have the opportunity to change, and frequently they do,” Lores said. “And they go on to lead wildly successful, productive lives.”
If found guilty through the juvenile system, the defendants would be eligible for release on their 19 birthdays.
If guilty as adults, they’d face a minimum of 30 years in prison.
A lawyer for the Pasquale family reportedly supports trying them as adults.