A lawyer for a New Jersey man accused of strangling 6-year-old Etan Patz in New York City in 1979 says his client is mentally ill and has a history of hallucinations. Pedro Hernandez was arraigned on a murder charge today, the 33rd anniversary of the boy's disappearance. The 51-year-old Hernandez appeared in court via video camera from a conference room at Bellevue Hospital, where he was admitted after making comments about wanting to kill himself.
Court-appointed lawyer Harvey Fishbein told the judge Hernandez is bipolar and schizophrenic. He didn't enter a plea, and the judge ordered a psychological examination. Hernandez was arrested yesterday after telling police he strangled Etan in 1979, when he was a stock boy at a convenience store near where the boy waited for his school bus. He said he lured Etan with the promise of a soda.