When We Were Twelve: The Tragic Death of Autumn Pasquale

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Erin Nanasi is an avid underwater basket weaver, with a penchant for satire and the odd wombat reference.
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Two brothers, one 15 and one 17, have been been arrested for the murder of 12-year old Autumn Pasquale. According to police, the bothers lured Autumn to their house with the promise of parts for her BMX bike. Police state her injuries are consistent with strangulation and have charged the brothers with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, disposal of a body, tampering with evidence and theft. The 15-year old has also been charged with luring.

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.

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Posted by on October 24, 2012. Filed under Commentary,COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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2 Responses to When We Were Twelve: The Tragic Death of Autumn Pasquale

  1. Carol Maietta views Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Such a terrible and hard to believe story. Makes me want to never let my grandson out of my site! Thanks for the post. I agree that something is terribly wrong in the life history of those boys: abuse, etc.

  2. Michael John Scott Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Virtually all criminal behavior is learned, and these kids learned well. Raging sociopaths who will, hopefully, spend the rest of their days in prison. I no longer have young children but If I did, like Carol said, I wouldn’t want to let them out of my sight.

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