Etan Patz Murder Case to be Retried

Manhattan prosecutors on Wednesday started the process of retrying the Etan Patz case, NBC News reported.

The six-year-old Patz went missing May 25, 1979. Pedro Hernandez, 54, confessed in 2012 to kidnapping and killing the child, more than three decades after the boy disappeared, but his lawyers argued Hernandez was mentally ill and his statements were fictional ravings.

Last month, the judge in the case declared a mistrial when the jury voted 11-1 in favor of convicting Hernandez of murder after deliberating 18 days. The lone holdout said he was concerned about Hernandez's mental state, noted NBC.

The holdout, Adam Sirois, was among the jurors in the audience at Wednesday's hearing, which was held to provide the court an update on the case. Sirois said afterward that he remains confident in his decision.

"I made my decision on the evidence," he said. He wouldn't comment on whether he would help defense attorneys but said if he were rooting for anyone, it would be the defense.

Following the mistrial last month, other jurors said they believed Hernandez could be convicted, and offered suggestions to prosecutors on how to improve their case. Those jurors sat behind the Patz family Wednesday, offering words of encouragement and support. Two alternates also attended, according to NBC.

Judge Maxwell Wiley set a court date for August 3 to determine whether jury selection would begin in December or January, the report said.

A retrial means reassembling witnesses, ones who were called in after three decades and many who are now in their 70s.

Etan's body was never found, nor was any trace of clothing or his belongings.

While several members of a prayer circle, an ex-wife and a friend testified that Hernandez had told them at different points during the past three decades that he'd harmed a boy in New York, no physical evidence tied Hernandez to the crime was found.

Police were brought to Hernandez's door after his brother-in-law called in a tip. He'd seen news reports of an FBI excavation in the SoHo neighborhood linked to the case, after it had been dormant for years. He testified he had long suspected his brother-in-law had been involved in the death of the child.

While Hernandez confessed to killing Patz, he later pleaded not guilty. His defense attorney claimed that Hernandez was repeatedly diagnosed with schizophrenia, and that he has "an IQ in the borderline-to-mild mental retardation range."

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/196580

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