16-year-old accused of gunning down Scranton cabbie over long route

16-year-old accused of gunning down Scranton cabbie over long route
Aazis Richardson, 16, is charged with fatally shooting a taxi driver. Richardson told reporters he had told the driver to take a faster route. (Scranton Police)

A 16-year-old boy in Scranton, Pa., is accused of fatally shooting a cab driver who refused to take a shortcut.

Speaking to reporters as he was led to court by police, Aazis Richardson, who was charged as an adult, said he told driver Vincent Darbenzio to take a quicker route early Friday.


"He didn't want to listen, he got his [expletive] shot," Richardson said, according to video of his exchange with reporters. Richardson told police that he felt the driver was intentionally running up the meter.

He is accused of firing two shots into the back of Darbenzio's head and then fleeing with about $500 from Darbenzio's pocket.

When asked by reporters if he had an explanation, Richardson responded: "Cause that's what I do to people that don't listen."

On Friday night, Richardson was arraigned on murder and robbery charges. "I feel my homies die, everybody got to die," Richardson said to television cameras.

Darbenzio, 47, had started driving for McCarthy Flowered Cabs about a month ago, said his brother James Darbenzio.

"He was a good man, a master mechanic," James Darbenzio, 51, told the Los Angeles Times by phone from Scranton. "He used to work across town at a garage, but he quit his job and he loved the new one. It was all he talked about -- the funny people and the stuff they would do on rides."

Darbenzio is also survived by another brother and a sister.

James Darbenzio said his brother was well-liked in the small community of Scranton. "You live in Scranton all your life, you know everybody."

As far as Richardson's comments on tape, Darbenzio was terse: "I didn't like those comments that the person said."

Pennsylvania law requires firearms owners to be at least 18 years old, and the 9-millimeter handgun Richardson is accused of using was unlicensed, prosecutors said.

A co-worker concerned that Darbenzio wasn't responding to his radio found the cab outside the housing complex where Richardson was to be dropped off. Darbenzio's body was keeling over through an open door, his head touching the ground and his feet still by the pedals.

Hours later, Scranton police found Richardson hiding in an attic after tracking him down using the cellphone number that had called for the cab. The gun was by his side, and he admitted that a stain on his jeans was from the driver's blood, according to a court filing posted online by the Scranton Times-Tribune. The money he was said to have stolen was not immediately found.

"It's really inconceivable when you look at the motive for this particular case, that being over a $7 cab fare that he thought he was being gypped off on," Lackawanna County Dist. Atty. Andy Jarbola said at a televised news conference Friday.

Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano said that all murderers are cold, "but this particular defendant exceeds all measurable levels of coldness."


Richardson is being held at Lackawanna County Prison and is scheduled to return to court Friday. Police were investigating whether he was involved in a triple slaying in New Jersey.