Matthew Pellegrini: Family Slams Plea Deal That Could Give Son's Accused Killer Seven Years

Mar 4, 2013 at 8:00 am
click to enlarge Tami Inkley and her son Matthew at graduation. - Courtesy of Inkley
Courtesy of Inkley
Tami Inkley and her son Matthew at graduation.

On Friday, we reported on Tami Inkley's campaign to get justice for her eighteen-year-old son Matthew, who police say was shot point-blank in the head by his friend Kevin Beindorff last year. Since then, the St. Louis Circuit Court Attorney's office and the defense have signed a plea agreement, on view below, that would give the suspect seven years in prison.

"This is extremely hard," Inkley, a 50-year-old Ballwin resident, tells Daily RFT. "This is a wound that hasn't even healed, and this is ripping the Band-Aid right back off."

What are the terms of the deal, and why is the prosecution agreeing to seven years -- against the family's wishes?

First, a quick recap: Beindorff, 21 at the time of the shooting last February, is accused of killing Pellegrini, a friend, inside a vehicle. The homicide case got national attention, because Beindorff told police that Pellegrini had "asked to be shot" -- a claim which the grieving family has repeatedly dismissed.

Now, one year later, instead of going to trial, it appears the case will head straight to sentencing next month after state prosecutors and the defense signed a plea deal on Friday -- in which the defendant admits to involuntary manslaughter.

click to enlarge Matthew Pellegrini - Courtesy of Inkley
Courtesy of Inkley
Matthew Pellegrini

That agreement, full version on view below, says in part:

In exchange for the defendant's voluntary plea of guilty in this cause, the parties agree that the following disposition is appropriate:

1. Seven (7) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. 2. Three (3) years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. (to run concurrent)...

The parties state that the facts in this case are as follows, and that the State of Missouri would prove these facts beyond a reasonable doubt:

On February 21, 2012, the defendant shot and killed Matthew Pellegrini. He put the gun to the head of Mr. Pellegrini and pulled the trigger shooting him one time in the head.

And Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has released a lengthy statement about this decision, acknowledging the family's discontent.

Continue for Joyce's comments and for response from the family.