GLOUCESTER TWP. – Dante Robinson, shot in the back during a Gloucester Township home invasion Monday, was “duped” into driving a group to the Kay Lane house where an alleged assault and robbery took place, the man’s mother said.
“Dante is on the naive side,” his mother Anita Saunders told the Courier-Post on Thursday.
“He was asked by someone to take him somewhere to party.”
Robinson, 21, is accused of breaking into a residence on Kay Lane in Sicklerville at 12:30 a.m. Monday.
The Clayton man was hospitalized at Cooper University Hospital in Camden early Monday suffering a gunshot wound to the back, his mother confirmed. He is in stable condition.
Robinson is charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary, theft, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child, the prosecutor’s office reported Wednesday.
When he is released from Cooper, he will be held at Camden County Jail.
“The only reason they’re giving him the charges is because he is the only one who was caught,” Saunders, of Clayton, said.
“I don’t know any of those kids. They duped him into taking them somewhere. They knew what they were going to do. (Dante) did not know. … I truly believe he did not know.”
Police continue to investigate the alleged assault and robbery, including how the Kay Lane residents and Robinson’s car pool were connected.
Thursday, a Gloucester Township Police cruiser was stationed at the corner of Kay Lane and Jarvis Road where an electronic police marquee warning of the Click It or Ticket campaign was placed.
Brian Judge told the Courier-Post his wife Traci Judge is recovering from Monday’s incident. Traci, her two sons, and disabled mother and uncle were in the home when the alleged assault and robbery occurred, Brian Judge said.
He would not describe the scene until the police investigation is complete and additional suspects are caught. But his wife noted the family has “no skeletons in our closet.”
“We come from a background of law enforcement, military and hard-working Americans,” Traci Judge said in a statement.
“Our two sons are excellent children and avid baseball players. Our sons are sweet and low key — don’t go out much because they’re too busy with baseball.”
Saunders was in shock hearing her son was charged in the alleged assault and that he had been shot.
In the five years since facing charges related to the slaying of a Clayton pre-teen, Robinson had made progress, his mother said. He obtained his high school diploma, worked at Amazon in Swedesboro for two years, and got himself a car, according to Saunders.
In 2012, Robinson and his brother Justin Robinson — then 17 and 15 — were charged with killing Autumn Pasquale, a borough 12-year-old.
Autumn was strangled in the basement of Saunders’ East Clayton Avenue home, the girl’s body relocated to a trash can on a vacant property next door, police determined.
Both brothers were charged with murder. Justin, now serving a 17-year sentence for aggravated manslaughter as part of a plea agreement, admitted to being the sole person responsible for luring the girl to their home and strangling her.
Dante Robinson pleaded guilty to fourth-degree obstruction in 2013 and was sentenced to six months in jail. He was released with time-served, having been held in the Camden County Youth Facility for nearly a year after Autumn’s body was discovered.
Saunders did not dispute something “definitely happened” at the Kay Lane house Monday.
“As far as the facts of it, we have to wait until the other boys are caught,” the mother said.
“I believe him, just like I believed he had nothing to do with Justin and Autumn.”