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

Mar 4, 2013 at 8:00 am

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Jennifer Joyce - via
Jennifer Joyce

Joyce writes in an official statement:

I have deep compassion for Ms. Inkley and all families of violent crime. I am so sorry for the loss she has experienced. We are committed to ensuring that Matthew Pelligrini and his family receive justice....

We have spoken with family and we are aware that they would prefer to go to trial on this matter. While the impact of this tragedy on Mr. Pellegrini's family has been tremendous, under our legal system charging decisions are made by objective prosecutors based on the evidence available and the application of the laws of the State of Missouri.

Joyce says it's rare that the prosecutors and a victim's family disagree on the best course of action for justice in these kinds of crimes -- but she says that plea agreements are the result of a wide range of considerations, including available evidence, witness and defendant statements, legal opportunities and challenges and the wishes of the family.

The judge will make a sentencing decision next month. The maximum punishment under the law for involuntary manslaughter is seven years, and the maximum punishment for armed criminal action, a second charge Beindorff is facing, is life, with a minimum of three years.

Inkley says the family is hopeful that Circuit Court Judge Edward Sweeney, who will make a sentencing decision on April 11, uses his discretion on the latter charge to inflict a punishment beyond seven years.

"My hope now that this has come into the public's eye is that the judge will take a closer look," says Inkley. "I've always maintained that I'm not asking for life...and I don't want to say that I have a magic number in my head. But I don't think I'd be satisfied with anything under twenty years."

The family will submit a victim-impact statement that she hopes will persuade the judge to consider a harsh sentence.

She says that if Beindorff doesn't face serious punishment, it sends a terrible message.

"If they give seven years to someone like Beindorff, Missouri is proving time and time again that the laws [don't work]," she says.

Inkley also says she is not pleased with Joyce's statement saying she wants justice for the family.

"It's a fabrication," she says. "You already agreed to seven years. You already made a choice.... Now, it's in the judge's hands."

Continue for more photos and for the full deal and statement.