In 1979, a young New York City boy by the name of Etan Patz went missing and was subsequently murdered. Now, nearly 40 years later, the Etan Patz murder trial has finally come to an end with the conviction of a former store clerk.
— ABC News (@ABC) February 15, 2017
CBS News was the first to bring the verdict in the Etan Patz murder trial, in which Pedro Hernandez, 56, was found guilty of the murder of the then-6-year-old boy. Originally, Hernandez confessed to the killing, but during his original 2015 trial, his lawyers argued that his confession was the “rantings of a mentally ill man.”
Hernandez, reportedly, showed no emotion as the jurors read the verdict in the case.
In the 2015 trial against Hernandez, the jury was “hopelessly deadlocked” by 11-1, with the majority voting to convict. However, in the state of New York, someone who is on trial for murder must be unanimously found guilty by a jury before a conviction can stand.
While the 2015 jury was deadlocked after 18 days of deliberation, the jury in this most recent Etan Patz murder trial deliberated for only nine days before rendering their decision.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 14, 2017
After the jury rendered the verdict in the Etan Patz murder trial, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., took to his official website to release a statement.
DA Vance announced that the jury convicted Pedro Hernandez of one count each of Murder in the Second Degree and Kidnapping, each of which carries extensive penalties. While it’s not clear what punishment DA Vance will seek against Hernandez, it can easily be speculated that when Hernandez is sentenced on February 28 of this year, DA Vance will petition the court for the maximum penalty. Since New York currently has a moratorium on the death penalty, it is likely that DA Vance will request that Hernandez serves life without parole.
“I’d like to thank the members of the jury for their service and commitment to the case, as well as the prosecutors in my Office who dedicated themselves completely to bringing Etan’s killer to justice and seeing one of the city’s most famous and formative cases to conclusion; they exemplify the great tradition of public service in our profession. I would also like to thank the outstanding members of law enforcement who never stopped working the case. Their collective dedication should serve as a reminder that cold cases are never forgotten cases.”
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 9, 2017
The conclusion of the Etan Patz murder trial closes the book on a very dark chapter in New York City history.
According to the New York Times, at that time in New York City, Prince Street — which is, today, in the heart of a thriving, artistic community — was in a semi-industrial area. Crime was at an all-time high, and Stanley and Julie Patz — Etan’s parents, who still live in the same loft that they lived in when Etan disappeared nearly four decades ago — were unable to get any answers about how and why their son disappeared on his way to his school bus stop.
Stanley Patz told the outlet that he was very pleased with the verdict that was rendered in the Etan Patz murder trial.
“I’m really grateful — I’m really grateful — this jury finally came back with what I’ve known for a long time — that this man, Pedro Hernandez, is guilty of doing something really terrible so many years ago.”
The sentencing phase of the Etan Patz murder trial will take place beginning February 28.
[Featured Image by NYPD]