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Teens may be tried as adults in murder of missing 12-year-old

News of the 12-year-old New Jersey girl that went missing in Gloucester County has been a chilling headline in not just New Jersey, but across the nation as of recent. Devastating news broke this week that investigators uncovered a body in a trash can. The following day, Tuesday, two teenage brothers were brought into custody and charged with the murder of the 12-year-old girl. Reportedly, the mother of the suspected teens saw a Facebook posting on the account of one of her sons that raised her suspicions; it was then that she contacted authorities.

Reportedly, the 12-year-old's cause of death was ruled as homicide by blunt force trauma consistent with strangulation. Accordingly, the 15-year-old and 17-year-old brothers are each charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, disposing of the body, tampering with evidence and theft. It is not infrequent that teens fail to consider the consequences of their actions, but it is rare that New Jersey residents hear of such brutal action taken on behalf of juveniles against a child.

In crimes of this nature, juveniles can be tried as an adult, which typically means that they will face much harsher consequences and sentencing. In similar circumstances, some defendants will mount a defense that will secure their trial as a juvenile. It is reported that the family of the 12-year-old victim will likely request that the brothers be charged as adults. Whether or not this happens remains to be seen.

The evidence is certainly stacked against these young brothers. Preliminary findings are not indicative of sexual assault, instead, it is alleged that the suspects took action as a means of stealing the 12-year-old's BMX bike, which was found at the residency of the brothers. The family of the 12-year-old is devastated at this brutal loss. The community at large mourns the unsettling loss of this girl.

Source: Examiner, "Autumn Pasquale's alleged killers arrested thanks to their mother Anita Saunders," Radell Smith, Oct. 24, 2012

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