NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The videotaped confession that is the heart of the murder case against Pedro Hernandez will be viewed in court, focusing on the admissibility of the confession.

As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, Hernandez confessed that he killed 6-year-old Etan Patz back in 1979 when he was 19 and working at a bodega on the SoHo street where the boy disappeared.

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The defense attorney, Harvey Fishbein, has long argued it was a false confession and that Hernandez’s 30-year history of mental illness and low IQ had been prompted by police and that he was not read his rights until hours after the questioning began.

Etan was 6 years old when he disappeared while walking to his school bus stop in 1979. He was one of the first missing children to appear on a milk carton.

Etan Patz (credit: Handout)

Etan Patz (credit: Handout)

The anniversary of his disappearance became National Missing Children’s Day.

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Police initially encountered Hernandez as a corner-store stock clerk in the area where Etan disappeared. But the 52-year-old Maple Shade, N.J., man wasn’t arrested until May 2012, after detectives learned that he’d made incriminating remarks to acquaintances years before about harming a child.

Hernandez has an IQ of 67, his medical records mention schizophrenia dating back years, and he’s taken anti-psychotic medication for some time, his lawyer, Harvey Fishbein said in papers filed in November.

After his arrest, doctors diagnosed him with schizotypal personality disorder, an ailment characterized by “cognitive and perceptual distortions,” Fishbein wrote. A psychiatrist expert in determining the reliability of confessions found that relying on Hernandez’ statements would be “profoundly unsafe” unless there’s tangible corroborating evidence, according to Fishbein. So far, no such evidence has been found, he said.

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