A Scranton teenager, who was accused of shooting and killing a city cab driver last year, admitted his guilt Tuesday afternoon in Lackawanna County.
With his mother in the courtroom, Aazis Richardson said he shot the cab driver twice in the back of the head.
Aazis Richardson answered the judge’s questions simply with “Yes” and “No” answers.
When the judge asked Richardson to tell her what happened the day of the murder, he declined to answer in detail but still admitted he was responsible for killing Vincent Darbenzio who was just doing his job at the time.
Richardson, who is 17-years-old, said nothing as he was taken out of the Lackawanna County Court Administration Building.
He had just pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.
“It was a brutal killing. There is no question about that from the facts and circumstances that we know,” First Assistant District Attorney Gene Talerico said.
Richardson admitted shooting and killing cab driver Vincent Darbenzio in May of last year for taking the long way on a trip to the Valley View Terrace Housing Complex.
While he had contemplated a guilty plea in the past, Richardson’s mother came to court and talked with him Tuesday.
“I think it was helpful to have her here. I think it was important to have her here,” Talerico said.
Prosecutors say their evidence against Richardson was strong.
In fact, he even confessed to the crime on camera the night he was arrested.
When Eyewitness News asked Richardson if he admitted doing the shooting, he responded “yeah.”
When asked if he thought he was going to get away from it, he responded “nah.”
When asked why he ran from the scene, Richardson responded “I’m going life man.”
Because of a recent Supreme Court ruling in cases involving juveniles under 18-years-old, Richardson will not automatically get life in prison.
Richardson faces a mandatory minimum of 35 years behind bars with the potential maximum of life in prison still.
The District Attorney’s Office has not decided what punishment they will ask for at this point since it is the first juvenile homicide case they’ve had since the Supreme Court ruling.
“There is a lot of information that has yet to be provided to us and I think what is important for us to focus on today, I know what is important for the family to focus on today is the acknowledgement of guilt,” Talerico said.
Richardson’s two attorneys and the family of victim Vincent Darbenzio declined to talk on camera about Tuesday’s guilty plea.
Richardson is expected to be sentenced on September 21st.