Suspect convicted in 1979 murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz

  • Suspect convicted in 1979 murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz

Suspect convicted in 1979 murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz

Hernandez showed no reaction as jurors delivered their verdict, the AP wrote. However, his first trial ended in a hung jury in 2015.

Defense attorneys had said the confession was the product of a vulnerable, mentally ill man who was manipulated by law enforcement.

Pedro Hernandez, 56, was convicted of murdering and kidnapping Etan Patz, 6.

Update, 12:30 p.m.: Pedro Hernandez has been found guilty in Etan Patz's 1979 death, according to reporters inside the courtroom. "I've known for a long time that this man Pedro Hernandez is guilty of doing something really bad so many years ago", he said. A member of a church group said Hernandez broke down in tears and confessed to attacking a child, while his ex-wife said Hernandez told her he'd killed a "muchacho" before they married.

Etan's father was in the courtroom for Tuesday's verdict in the second trial. In the first trial, all but one juror had voted for conviction.

"And, ultimately, kind of heartbreaking", he said.

Patz's disappearance "changed urban childhoods" and "shook" New York City, reported the New York Times, prompting national concern, and changing the ways in which missing children were located.

He was initially arrested five years ago, after his brother-in-law called authorities to report his suspicions. 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.

Hernandez's attorney, Harvey Fishbein, vowed Tuesday to appeal, stating that there are "numerous grounds" to do so.

As investigators continued to search for Patz, his parents, Stanley and Julie, pushed for laws that established a national hotline and made it easier for law enforcement agencies to share information about missing children. The case reshaped American parenting and the pursuit of missing children. "Thanks to all of those who never forgot about Etan or relented in their efforts to find his killer, this case will no longer be remembered as one of the city's oldest and most painful unsolved crimes".

After police finally came to Hernandez' Maple Shade, New Jersey, door, he confessed, saying he'd offered Etan a soda to get him into the store basement, choked him, put him - still alive - in a box and left it with a pile of curbside trash. "I wanted to let go, but I just couldn't let go". "I felt like something just took over me".

Prosecutors cast his confession as the chillingly believable words of a man unburdening himself, and they argued it was buttressed by the less specific admissions he'd made earlier to his relatives and acquaintances. Hernandez's defense team says the versions of the story have varied in his different tellings.