A jury on Tuesday convicted a man of the kidnapping and murder of a six-year-old boy nearly 40 years ago in NY in a case that still haunts USA parents and changed how child abductions are handled. Ramos told investigators he was 90% sure he had taken Etan and was eventually found guilty of Etan's death in a 2004 civil case.
"The Patz family has waited a long time, but we have finally found some measure of justice", Stan Patz told reporters, speaking softly as he sat alongside prosecutors in the courtroom. Hernandez had worked as a deli clerk in the neighborhood at the time of Patz's disappearance. On the earlier jury, the lone holdout against conviction cited the mental health issue as a major reason for his stance.
Now, after a second trial in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan that has spanned almost three months, and jury deliberations that lasted about two weeks, the decades-old case that has mystified the city is drawing to a close.
Defense attorneys had said the confession was the product of a vulnerable, mentally ill man who was manipulated by law enforcement. "He could tell fantasy from reality".
Jurors delivered their verdict Tuesday. Fishbein said evidence in the case points to another suspect.
Etan's story has always been famous in New York City and nationwide: In 1979, on the first day his parents allowed him to walk to the bus stop by himself, he disappeared along the way.
In 1983, then USA president Ronald Reagan declared the anniversary of his disappearance National Missing Children's Day.
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"It's a cautionary tale, a defining moment, a loss of innocence", Asst. He was tried once before, but the case ended in a hung jury after all but one juror voted to convict after 18 days of deliberations.
Hernandez has remained in jail since his 2012 arrest. He initially confessed that he lured the boy into the store's basement with the promise of a free soda, then strangled him - however, he later retracted his confession. "Thanks to all of those who never forgot about Etan or relented in their efforts to find his killer, this case will no longer be remembered as one of the city's oldest and most painful unsolved crimes".
Hernandez, according to testimony at trial, made incriminating statements that varied in their details to a prayer group, an ex-wife and a friend.
Pedro Hernandez appears in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York November 15, 2012.
"Something just took over me", Hernandez said in one of a series of recorded confessions to police and prosecutors.
"I just couldn't let go", Pedro said in one of the interviews. "I felt so sorry". But he never confessed and was never prosecuted.
Defense lawyers and doctors portrayed Hernandez as man with psychological problems and intellectual limitations that not only made him imagine he'd killed Etan but made him susceptible to confessing falsely after more than six hours of questioning.