NEW YORK — A hardware store clerk who pleaded guilty to kidnapping, killing and dismembering a lost little boy was sentenced Wednesday to 40 years to life in prison.
Levi Aron had pleaded guilty this month to lesser charges in a deal that spared him a criminal trial and the possibility of life in prison without parole. He declined to speak at his sentencing. He will be eligible for parole in 40 years.
Aron, 37, wore a black yarmulke, bushy beard and orange prison jumpsuit, and kept his head down and eyes closed for much of the hearing. His attorneys said he suffered a head injury as a child that went untreated.
"As a child and a young man, he should have been treated for his mental illness," attorney Howard Greenberg said. Outside court, his attorneys said Aron is sorry but a public apology would seem false.
Aron admitted he kidnapped and killed 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky after the boy approached him on a Brooklyn street and asked for directions on July 11, 2011. The boy got lost on his walk home from a religious day camp.
The boy was Hasidic, an ultra-Orthodox version of Judaism, and the killing shook the tight-knit community in Borough Park, a safe and somewhat insular neighborhood home to one of the world's largest communities of Orthodox Jews outside Israel. Aron, who lived nearby, was Orthodox but not Hasidic.
The boy's family did not attend the sentencing. A prosecutor read a statement from his father, Nachman Kletzky, that said, "God did not abandon our son, nor our family, for one second."