Guilty verdict in Etan Patz missing child case

A jury on Tuesday convicted a man of the kidnapping and murder of a six-year-old boy nearly 40 years ago in NY in a case that still haunts U.S. parents and changed how child abductions are handled.

The case originally spurred a national hotline for missing children and simplified sharing of information among law enforcement agencies.

Patz disappeared on May 25, 1979, as he walked to a school bus stop.

"The disappearance of Etan Patz haunted families in NY and across the country for almost four decades", Vance Jr. said.

The dissenting juror said he was swayed by arguments over Hernandez's poor mental health and described the accused's confession as "very freaky no matter how many times it happened".

"In the end, we don't believe this will resolve the story of what happened to Etan back in 1979", lawyer Harvey Fishbein said.

Hernandez showed no reaction as jurors delivered their verdict, the AP wrote.

A NY state court jury on Tuesday convicted Pedro Hernandez, 56, of felony murder and acquitted of intentional second-degree murder - meaning the jury believed the murder was intentional.

A 2015 trial ended in mistrial after 18 days of jury deliberation.

He was "keenly watching and admiring this handsome friendly child", Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said during summations.

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In a case with no body and no forensic evidence to even prove Etan was killed, the defense also hammered on inconsistencies in Hernandez's purported confession. Patz' body was never found.

No one had been tried until Hernandez confessed to choking Etan after luring him into the basement of a SoHo bodega where he worked.

The jury verdict against Pedro Hernandez gave Etan's relatives a resolution they had sought since May 1979 and gave prosecutors a conviction that eluded them when a 2015 jury deadlocked.

The verdict was handed down nine days after they began deliberations.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. had called the case one of New York's "oldest and most painful unsolved crimes".

Several of these people testified during the trial, per The New York Times. Jurors found Hernandez guilty of murder and kidnapping but acquitted him on a second murder charge. "I wanted to let go, but I just couldn't let go". It was the first grader's first time walking to school alone and his face was one of the first to be featured on milk cartons.

Parenting and policy was shaped by Etan's abduction, as his disappearance embodied mothers and fathers' worst fears and helped change the way authorities track kidnappings.

For one juror, Hernandez's purported confession seemed suspicious.

The defense had argued that Hernandez had an IQ of 70, which would put him in the bottom two percent of the population, and said that convicted sex offender Jose Ramos was the real culprit.