Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Judge says 1979 New York child-killing case can go to trial

NEW YORK — A man charged with murder decades after one of the nation's most infamous child disappearances can be brought to trial, a judge ruled Wednesday, turning down the man's claim that the case is too thin to proceed.

In a case that hinges on a disputed confession, Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley said in a written ruling that there is enough evidence to sustain the charges against Pedro Hernandez of Maple Shade, N.J. He is accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz, last seen walking to his Manhattan school bus stop in 1979.

The ruling propels the case toward a trial that would probably revolve around whether Hernandez's confession amounts to a mentally ill man's imaginings, as his defense says.

"We're prepared to move forward to trial and be able to show … that Pedro Hernandez had nothing to do with whatever happened to Etan Patz back in 1979," defense lawyer Harvey Fishbein said after court.

Etan's disappearance, which helped impel a movement to publicize the cases of missing children, vexed investigators through decades of fizzled leads and inconclusive findings.

Authorities say they have finally found the culprit in Hernandez, who confessed after his arrest last year and had made incriminating remarks to acquaintances years before. But his lawyer has said that Hernandez is schizophrenic and bipolar, and that his admission was false, peppered with questionable claims and made after almost seven hours of police questioning.

Judge says 1979 New York child-killing case can go to trial 05/15/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. North Korea says it's 'biggest victim' in U.S. student's death (w/video)

    World

    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Friday called itself the "biggest victim" in the death of an American student who was detained for more than a year and died days after being released in a coma.

    Mourners line the street after the funeral of Otto Warmbier, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, died this week, days after returning to the United States. [Associated Press]
  2. Kentucky recruit, former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox among top prospects for 2018 NBA Draft

    Preps

    Less than 24 hours after the NBA Draft, analysts have already begun looking ahead to 2018.

    Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox finishes a layup during the McDonald's All-American game in March at the United Center in Chicago. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Editorial: Pinellas cannot ignore homeless families

    Editorials

    They are living on our streets and in our parking lots, in cheap motels and spare bedrooms if they're lucky and in old cars if they are not. Their kids attend our schools, and parents often are afraid to seek help. Pinellas County has made progress in recent years in providing temporary shelter for the homeless, but …

    
Ariana Turner, 22, and her daughter, Namine Cowell, 2, are living at St. Petersburg Free Clinic Family Residence after falling on hard times. Pinellas County has made progress in recent years in providing temporary shelter for the homeless, but homeless families with kids are virtually shut out. It's a crisis that requires public and private leadership to find an answer that is both compassionate and cost-effective.
  4. Report: USF faculty complained of a hostile, sexist, boorish boss

    College

    TAMPA — A certain University of South Florida academic may be an unpopular and insensitive bully, but he did not break USF rules, a lengthy legal review has concluded.

    Herb Maschner was removed last fall as the head of a technology center at the University of South Florida after the school learned his previous employer found he engaged in inappropriate, on-campus sexual behavior. A new report looks at Maschner's tenure at USF. [Idaho State University]
  5. Oh, deer! Two bucks seen on video duking it out in Tennessee

    Wildlife

    Deer generally are seen as calm and serene creatures, but that was not the case in this video posted Wednesday on the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency's Facebook page.

    A video, shot by Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency wildlife officers Amy and Bubba Spencer on one of their trail cameras, shows two bucks on their hind legs and flailing in an open field. [Facebook]