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Jury Deliberations Begin In Retrial Of Pedro Hernandez, Accused Of Killing Etan Patz

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Jury deliberations in the retrial for a man accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in New York City 37 years ago began on Wednesday.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, it was the second time a jury gathered with the intention of deciding the fate of Pedro Hernandez. Two years ago, the case ended in a hung jury.

The judge finished charging the jury in the latest trial on Wednesday afternoon. Jurors began deliberating at 3 p.m., and went home for the night around 4:45 p.m.

Etan went missing in 1979 as he walked to the bus stop alone for the first time to go to school, CBS2's Janelle Burrell reported.

Hernandez is accused of Etanluring Etan into the basement of a SoHo deli, and then strangling him.
Hernandez emerged as a suspect in 2012 based on a tip and confessed.

But Hernandez's attorneys insist that he is mentally ill and that his confessions were false.

In closing arguments, prosecutors said Hernandez's confession was not made up at all. But during the defense's closing arguments Monday, attorney Harvey Fishbein called his client an odd, limited and vulnerable man, 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported.

Fishbein sought to deflect attention away from his client, playing up the investigation into Jose Ramos, a convicted pedophile who said he knew Etan.

Ramos' girlfriend used to take care of the boy. Ramos himself is now incarcerated in an unrelated case.

The Manhattan Assistant District Attorney prosecuting the case said Hernandez was a careful observer who watched Etan before choosing him as a victim.

She argued that his statements over the years that he killed someone, and his consistency in his confessions to authorities, proved that he did not make it up.

A relative of Hernandez called police in 2012 when the case made headlines again, after federal agents dug up a basement looking for evidence.

Police arrested Hernandez, who then confessed. Etan's body has never been found.

The earlier trial for Hernandez, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, ended in a hung jury after 18 days of deliberations in 2015. On Monday, members of the first jury sat in the courtroom with Etan's father.

Adam Sirios, the sole holdout juror, told reporters why he could not vote for a conviction.

"For me, his confession was very bizarre," Sirios said. "No many how many times it happened."

But Stan Patz, Etan's father, insists Hernandez is guilty.

"This man did it...he said it," he said. "How many times does a man have to confess before someone believes it?"

Etan was one of the first missing children whose face appeared on milk cartons.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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