These two teenagers strangled a little girl and dumped her body in a recycling bin. For bike parts. Their father, Alonzo Robinson, spoke to The Star-Ledger of Newark, saying that his sons were known for stealing bikes, and gave this possible explanation for the murder of a 12-year old girl:
“I think someone wanted the girl’s bicycle. Maybe she wanted her bike, and resisted, and of them snatched her off her bike.”
The girl. Her name, Mr. Robinson, was Autumn Pasquale. Her 13th birthday was next Monday. Her family is in shock, unable to understand why your sons would commit such an evil act. What would cause two teenage boys to just “snap” and murder a 12-year old girl? My opinion (and mine only) is that they did not snap.
There is a standard belief in forensic psychiatry that violent predators are created by their environment. Yes, every once in awhile you get a monster born, not made, but for the most part, you can trace murderous and violent behavior back to a person’s upbringing. Mr. Robinson admitted that his sons had a history of thievery. Police told him they found “bike parts stockpiled in the basement.” These young men did not wake up one morning and become killers. Someone created them.
Autumn Pasquale was twelve years old. She was adorable. She was just a little girl. When we were twelve, we were innocent; we rode our bikes all over the neighborhood, and I promise you at no time did any of us think two teenage brothers would lure us into their house and strangle us to death. When we were twelve, the world was different somehow. Yes, there were monsters, but we were told to beware of strangers lurking behind trees or trying to give us candy or asking us to find their lost puppy. When we were twelve, I don’t think it would have occurred to our parents that the boys down the street were the monsters.
Autumn will always be twelve. She will never go to prom, she will never get married, she will never have her own children. She will always be twelve, and her family will always have a hole where her laughter used to be. Autumn was on this Earth a very short time, and her light was extinguished by two selfish and violent young men. And for what? Bike parts. They murdered a little girl to add to their stockpile in the basement.
When we were twelve, we were immortal and invincible. We could climb trees like lemurs, we could swim like fish, we could run like the wind. Twelve is different now. It shouldn’t be, but it is.
What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us. – Helen Keller
Thank you to NBC News for contributions to this article.