CLAYTON, NJ (CBS) – Walking stride for stride with fellow members of the Clayton community Anthony Pasquale sees hope at the end of a journey that began with the murder of his 12-year-old daughter Autumn Pasquale.
“It’s a tough road and it still is, the important thing is that we continue to move forward,” Pasquale said Saturday afternoon before a remembrance walk that began in a park named for his daughter.
Authorities say in October 2012, Autumn was strangled and stuffed in a recycling bin by teenage brothers Dante and Justin Robinson of Clayton.
Justin, the younger brother, took responsibility and is serving a 17-year prison sentence.
According to the Robinson’s lawyer and members of the community the teens came from a troubled home.
Last month Dante, who served jail time for obstruction of justice in the Pasquale murder, was charged in a home invasion.
Many people in Clayton believe Autumn might still be alive if New Jersey had tougher laws about parenting.
“Make parent’s responsible for doing what they should do for their children so they do not commit felony crimes against other people,” says Autumn’s grandmother Mary Pasquale.
The walk through the borough Saturday was to raise support for creating Autumn’s Law.
It calls for penalties for abusive or neglectful parents whose children commit serious crimes.
“There has to be some kind of consequence for parents of a minor with felony charges,” says Anthony Pasquale.
Some states have enacted such parental responsibility laws and lost legal challenges. But the idea has some precedent in New Jersey.
Already parents in New Jersey are liable to pay money if their child commits vandalism, and repeatedly letting your kid skip school carries up to a hundred dollar fine.
“If we hold parents accountable for truant kids, for kids who break windows, why don’t hold them accountable for kids that break lives. We should do that and that’s what we hope to do with Autumn’s Law,” says family friend Jessica Gearhart.
An online petition for Autumn’s Law has collected nearly 16,000 signatures.