NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The man accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 is mentally ill and has a long history of hallucinating, a psychologist testified Monday at Pedro Hernandez’s murder trial.

Virginia Barber testified for the defense that Hernandez has schizotypal personality disorder, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.

Barber described the peculiar perceptual experiences that Hernandez had since he was a teenager, seeing ghosts in the room, a lady in white sent to protect him and a man with tattoos who scared him. Hernandez’s paranoia, Barber said, led him to cover and tape his windows so neighbors couldn’t see him.

The defense is hoping to prove that mental illness led Hernandez to falsely confess to police in 2012 that he killed Etan.

Last week, psychiatrist Dr. Michael First also testified that Hernandez has schizotypal personality disorder, saying the defendant told him there were 15 people in a SoHo bodega basement when he strangled the boy.

Meanwhile Monday, lawyers were battling over a banana box.

Prosecutors had been allowed to use photographs of a volunteer child scrunched down inside a banana box to show that Hernandez could have disposed of Etan’s body in such a box. Now the defense is prepared to use its own banana box packed with 50 pounds of potatoes to show jurors it couldn’t have happened.

“According to the prosecution, my client carried it up a flight of steps, a block and a half when he was 18 years old, which might sound possible except he was 112 pounds and 5 foot 3, nonathletic,” defense attorney Harvey Fishbein said.

Judge Maxwell Wiley is mulling over the request for the box-lifting demonstration.

Comments

Leave a Reply