Boy charged in cabbie’s murder saw triple homicide

SCRANTON, Pa. — A 16-year-old boy charged with fatally shooting a Pennsylvania cab driver who didn’t take his preferred route was interviewed as a witness to a triple homicide in New Jersey last year, police said.

Aazis Richardson was charged with murder Friday night, hours after 47-year-old cab driver Vincent Darbenzio was found shot twice in the head in Scranton. Police said Richardson had complained that the driver was “taking the long way and ripping him off.”

Police said a woman at a Scranton house had called the cab for Richardson, and they were able to trace the call back to the residence.

According to the criminal complaint, Richardson confessed to shooting Darbenzio with a 9mm handgun and said he took $500 from him. That money hasn’t been found. Richardson said he walked to a cousin’s house in a nearby housing project after the shooting and spent the night there, the complaint said. The next morning, he walked back to the Scranton house where the cab had picked him up, and detectives found him hiding in the attic, with a handgun in a nearby bag, police said.

Richardson also told police he was a gang member and claimed he had been a suspect in a Newark triple homicide, authorities said.

But Newark detective Anthony Ambrose told the Star-Ledger that police had interviewed Richardson as a witness to the Christmas slayings of three teenagers, but he wasn’t a suspect. A 15-year-old was arrested in that case.

When Richardson was arraigned Friday night, reporters asked him why he shot the cab driver. He responded: “That’s what I do to people who don’t listen,” TV station WNEP reported. Richardson also cursed the victim’s family, the station said.

Darbenzio was a father of two and had only recently started driving a cab.

Richardson is being held without bail on first-degree murder, robbery and other charges. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

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