Tags: etan patz | jury | selection

Etan Patz Trial: Jury Selection Kicks Off in 1979 Murder Case

Image: Etan Patz Trial: Jury Selection Kicks Off in 1979 Murder Case
In this May 29, 2012 file photo, people walk past a street shrine to six-year-old Etan Patz, who disappeared 33 years ago, set in front of the building where suspect Pedro Hernandez confessed to have strangled the boy in New York on . (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 05 Jan 2015 01:35 PM

Etan Patz went missing in 1979 but jury selection began Monday for the man accused of killing the then-6-year-old boy and throwing his body in the trash.

New York police said that Pedro Hernandez, now 53, confessed to killing Patz after he was arrested in 2012, and a judge has ruled that the jury will be allowed to view the videotaped confession, NY1 News reported.

Authorities said that Hernandez, who was 18 at the time Patz disappeared, confessed to luring the boy into into the basement of his family's SoHo grocery store, choking him to death, and then throwing the body in the trash in May 1979.

Hernandez's attorneys have argued that their client is mentally ill and that his confession is not accurate. He has since recanted, according to Reuters.

Roughly 100 prospective jurors began filling out questionnaires Monday as the first step in jury selection, WABC-TV reported. The television station stated that jury selection could take several days and the trial itself could run two to three months.

Patz's case was nationally known as he became one of the first missing children to appear on milk cartons. National Missing Children's Day marks the anniversary of his disappearance, the station noted.

State Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley said, though, that familiarity with the case through such publicity would not necessarily disqualify a person from serving on the jury.

Patz was declared legally dead in 2001 even though his body was never found, Reuters reported. The boy's parents, Julie and Stan Patz, had previously attended court proceedings in their missing son's case but did not attend jury selection Monday morning.

Hernandez's brother-in-law told city detectives in 2012 that the defendant had confessed to the crime in a church prayer group, which led to his arrest.

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Etan Patz went missing in 1979 but jury selection began Monday for the man accused of killing the then-6-year-old boy and throwing his body in the trash.
etan patz, jury, selection
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2015-35-05
Monday, 05 Jan 2015 01:35 PM
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