Lawyer: Etan Patz Suspect Is Mentally Ill

Pedro Hernandez is formally charged with boy's murder
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 25, 2012 6:06 PM CDT
Lawyer: Etan Patz Suspect Is Mentally Ill
Stan Patz, father of Etan Patz, arrives at his home in SoHo Friday.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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. (Read more Etan Patz stories.)

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