DOCTOR TESTIFIES IN PATZ SLAY TRIAL
Pedro Hernandez, the 53 year old man accused of murdering 6 year old Etan Patz in1979, gave no reason for his sudden decision to strangle Etan. He volunteered that it wasn’tsexual. Hernandez tearfully confessed after six and a half hours of interrogation. Later, as avideo camera recorded his words, Hernandez insisted the boy was still alive when he encased him ina plastic garbage bag and a cardboard box, then abandoned him in an alleyway in Manhattan. I knowI did what I did, but he was alive, Hernandez insisted, weeping, in a half-hour statement thepolice videotaped at the end of the interrogation in 2012. He wasn’t dead. Somebody musthave did something, maybe put him in the garbage or killed him. I don’t know. Dr. FlaviaRobotti, a psychiatrist, testified at the trial yesterday that Hernandez was wracked by guilt whenshe saw him at Riker’s Island a month after he confessed. After he repeated his Mayconfession he told her, I want to die. Hernandez, a married father from Maple Shade, New Jersey,told police that when he was a teen working at a bodega in SoHo in 1979, he lured Etan into thestore’s basement and killed him. He gave no motive. Etan disappeared on his way to school.His body was never found.
On February 23, before the video was played for the jury, a defense lawyer raisedconcerns about newly discovered evidence in the case. Three boxes of evidence that were discoveredin a police storage room in Harlem last week contained more than 1,400 pages of documents aboutJose A. Ramos, a convicted child molester who was a longtime suspect in Etan’s disappearance.With the defense planning to present evidence that Ramos was responsible to Etan’sdisappearance, the discovery of the boxes could jeopardize the fairness of the proceedings.
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