Guilty Verdict In Etan Patz Case, Nearly 40 Years After Boy's Disappearance

Hernandez showed no reaction as jurors delivered their verdict, the AP wrote. A single holdout juror in that trial refused to convict Hernandez following 18 days of deliberations.

Pedro Hernandez, who was 18 years old at the time and worked at a convenience store near the bus stop, was convicted at the end of a second trial, held after a jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict in 2015.

A jury ruled Tuesday that the man accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz decades ago is guilty of murder. But they have said that for years, Hernandez told his relatives and ex-wife about how he had murdered a child in 1981.

The verdict spurred tears even from some of the jurors from the first trial, who had attended the second one.

"And, ultimately, kind of heartbreaking", he said. A NY state court jury found Pedro Hernandez guilty on February 14, 2017 in the 1979 kidnapping the 6-year-old boy whose disappearance sparked an era of heightened awareness of crimes against children, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said. Police arrested Hernandez soon after. Etan, who vanished while heading to his Manhattan school bus stop in 1979, was among the first missing children whose face was put on milk cartons, and his case prompted many parents to stop letting their children roam their neighborhoods alone.

"Pedro Hernandez is an odd, limited and vulnerable man", defense lawyer Harvey Fishbein said in his closing argument, The Associated Press reported. They claimed his confession to police were coerced. The case became a cautionary tale for parents, and Etan's picture was put on milk cartons as part of a nascent national movement to find missing children.

The case shook New York City like no other disappearing child's case of its time.

After almost 40 years, Etan Patz, who was kidnapped and murdered back in 1979, has finally received justice!

Lawyers for Hernandez, whose IQ is just 70, reportedly argued his admissions were the result of a seven-hour police interrogation that was not recorded, and said that the evidence in Etan's murder points to another suspect in the case.

Hernandez, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, confessed in 2012, more than three decades after the boy disappeared. "I wanted to just let him go but there was something that took over in me, and I squeezed him more and more". But he never confessed and was never prosecuted.

An attorney for defendant Pedro Hernandez says an appeal is planned. His daughter testified that he talked about seeing visions of angels and demons and once watered a dead tree branch, believing it would grow.

Prosecutors have suggested Hernandez faked or exaggerated his symptoms.

Jose Ramos, a convicted pedophile, was declared responsible for Etan's death in a 2004 civil case.

  • Todd Kelly