Jury convicts man over NY child's murder in 1979

  • Jury convicts man over NY child's murder in 1979

Jury convicts man over NY child's murder in 1979

A New York City jury on Tuesday convicted Pedro Hernandez of killing Etan Patz, the 6-year-old boy who disappeared from his Soho neighborhood in 1979.

Patz disappeared as he walked two blocks to a school bus stop on May 25, 1979.

A NY jury now deliberating murder charges against a man charged with killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 has reportedly reached a decision.

Moments after the verdict was read, Hernandez's defense attorney Harvey Fishbein vowed to appeal.

Jurors delivered their verdict Tuesday. "You'd have to believe that the mental-health issues are strong enough to allow someone like Pedro to make this false confession, and I really felt that's what happened with Mr. Hernandez". The jury had deliberated for nine days before reaching a decision in his re-trial. A member of a church group said Hernandez broke down in tears and confessed to attacking a child, while his ex-wife said Hernandez told her he'd killed a "muchacho" before they married.

Lawyers for Hernandez, whose IQ is just 70, reportedly argued his admissions were the result of a seven-hour police interrogation that was not recorded, and said that the evidence in Etan's murder points to another suspect in the case.

The decadeslong investigation took investigators as far as Israel, but Hernandez wasn't a suspect until renewed news coverage of the case prompted a brother-in-law to tell police that Hernandez in 2012 had revealed to a prayer group decades earlier that he'd killed a child in NY.

Prosecutors commended Stan Patz, who never stopped hoping that the killer would one day be found. Pedro Hernandez was officially declared guilty of killing the 6-year-old boy, with the jury declaring a verdict on February 14. His parents lent their voices to a campaign to make missing children a national cause, and it fueled laws that established a national hotline and made it easier for law enforcement agencies to share information about vanished youngsters.

"It's a cautionary tale, a defining moment, a loss of innocence", Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said during his opening statement when the four-month trial began. A video-taped confession showed Hernandez telling investigators that he had kidnapped Etan and took him into the basement of the shop where he worked to strangle him.

Hernandez was not considered a suspect until 2012 after his brother-in-law informed police that he had made statements about killing a child to several people. "I wanted to just let him go but there was something that took over in me, and I squeezed him more and more". Prosecutors suggested Hernandez faked or exaggerated his symptoms.

Ramos never faced criminal charges and has consistently denied having anything to do with Etan's death.

The holdout juror later said that he believed the confession was coerced.