crimesider

Trial postponed for months in Etan Patz murder case

Pedro Hernandez CBS News

NEW YORK - The murder trial for the man charged with killing a 6-year-old Manhattan boy, previously set to begin in April, has been postponed for months, reports CBS New York.

Pedro Hernandez, 52, is charged with killing Etan Patz, who disappeared in 1979 while walking to his school bus stop. Patz was one of the first missing children to appear on a milk carton. The anniversary of his disappearance became National Missing Children's Day.

A judge said Wednesday that he anticipates the trial - originally slated for April - will begin in September, as psychiatric exams and other preparations continue.

Hernandez wasn't arrested until May 2012, after detectives discovered that he had made incriminating remarks to acquaintances about harming a child years before. The suspect was a corner-store stock clerk in the area where Etan disappeared.

According to police, Hernandez gave a confession, but his defense has argued that it was false and prompted by mental illness. Hernandez has an IQ of 67 and a history of schizophrenia that he's treated with anti-psychotic medication, said his lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, in papers filed in November.

Fishbein wrote that, after his client's arrest, doctors diagnosed him with schizotypal personality disorder, an ailment characterized by "cognitive and perceptual distortions." A psychiatrist expert determined that any confession Hernandez might have given would be "profoundly unsafe" and unreliable, Fishbein said. 

According to Fishbein, no other evidence has been found against his client.

  • Crimesider Staff

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.