Judge Declines To Release Pedro Hernandez, Who Is Awaiting Trial

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — An attorney said Wednesday that the man accused of killing a 6-year-old boy who vanished in 1979 should be released because it is taking too long to get to trial.

Pedro Hernandez was arrested about 18 months ago in the death of Etan Patz. The little boy was last seen on his way to a Manhattan school bus stop on May 25, 1979 when he disappeared.

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Hernandez was a clerk at a convenience store near where the boy was last seen. The boy’s body has never been found.

Hernandez’s lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, asked a judge Wednesday to release his client.

Police and prosecutors said Hernandez confessed to suffocating the boy and putting his body in a trash bag. Fishbein said his client is schizophrenic and bipolar, and the confession was false.

A trial is expected next spring.

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Fishbein said Wednesday his client has languished in jail while prosecutors drag their feet.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said prosecutors are moving as fast as they can.

The judge did not release Hernandez.

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