NationNation Now

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

CrimeLaw EnforcementHomicideShootingsScrantonLackawanna County
Teen accused of shooting cab driver says, "That's what I do to people that don't listen"
Pennsylvania teen, charged as adult in cab driver's slaying, says cabbie wouldn't take a shorter route
Scranton, Pa., police chief: Accused teen killer "exceeds all measurable levels of coldness"

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. 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
CrimeLaw EnforcementHomicideShootingsScrantonLackawanna County
  • White House intruder arrested after entering front doors
    White House intruder arrested after entering front doors

    An intruder scaled a White House fence and made it all the way into the building Friday evening before he was caught and wrestled to the ground by security officers, the Secret Service said. President Obama and his family had already left for Camp David when the incident occurred.

  • Man who killed daughter and grandchildren had violent past
    Man who killed daughter and grandchildren had violent past

    Don Spirit, a Florida grandfather who fatally shot his daughter Sarah Lorraine Spirit and six grandchildren before killing himself, had a long history of domestic violence — at one point pushing his pregnant daughter against a refrigerator and assaulting and threatening his former...

  • Rain pounds Texas: A sign the drought is ending?
    Rain pounds Texas: A sign the drought is ending?

    In Texas, where the governor once urged the public to pray for rain, this week’s torrential storms might finally be a sign of lasting relief for the state plagued by years of drought. Or maybe not.

  • For many in Congress, a first test on issues of war
    For many in Congress, a first test on issues of war

    Lawmakers' votes this week on whether or not to train and equip Syrian opposition forces in the fight against Islamic State were arguably the most consequential after nearly two years in which Congress is likely to set a new low for productivity.

  • Egyptian militant admits links to 1998 U.S. embassy bombings

    A longtime Egyptian militant with ties to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden admitted in federal court Friday that he had links to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, a surprise guilty plea that the judge sharply questioned because it reduces his prison time from a potential life sentence to...

  • Four takeaways from the vote in Congress to arm Syrian rebels
    Four takeaways from the vote in Congress to arm Syrian rebels

    What was supposed to be a no-drama final session of Congress before the campaign season turned into anything but as President Obama's new strategy to combat the threat from Islamic State resulted in a wrenching vote that is likely to reverberate through the midterm election and...