Matthew Pellegrini: In Surprise Move, Judge Rejects Plea Deal in High-Profile Shooting Case
Update below: The family of shooting victim Matthew Pellegrini received surprising news this morning when a St. Louis circuit judge rejected a plea deal that would have given the shooter seven years.
Courtesy of Tami Inkley Matthew Pellegrini.
This rejection, which is generally pretty rare, comes one week after seven different family members offered testimony begging St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Edward Sweeney to consider a harsh sentence for Kevin Beindorff, the 22-year-old accused of shooting Pellegrini, eighteen at the time, point-blank in the head.
The shooting last February got national attention due to Beindorff's statement to police that his friend Pellegrini "asked to be shot," prompting him to point the gun at him inside a car and fire the fatal bullet.
This latest twist in the case has given new hope to the family, which had slammed the plea deal between Beindorff and the St. Louis prosecutors.
"We want justice," Tami Inkley, Pellegrini's mother, tells Daily RFT. "Seven years is not justice."
Inkley says that she and her relatives made a strong case in their testimony last week.
"I believe that my family's statement had a great impact on Judge Sweeney," she says.
The grieving family has been very critical of the St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce for crafting and accepting a plea deal that they felt was inadequate. Through that deal, Beindorff admitted to involuntary manslaughter.
"They wanted to just sweep this under the rug and move on...just another shooting in St. Louis city," Inkley says. "This time, they messed with the wrong family."
Continue for more of our interview with Tami Inkley and relevant documents in the case.