NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The jury in the trial of the man accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz nearly 36 years ago deliberated for a fourth day Monday.
Jurors received the case against 54-year-old Pedro Hernandez on Wednesday afternoon.READ MORE: Caught On Video: Suspect In Brooklyn Subway Beating
The jury on Monday asked for a weather report from May 25, 1979, the day Etan went missing; all phone records between Hernandez and his brother-in-law, Juan Santana, who turned him in to police; a blueprint of 113 Thompson St., where Etan’s body was allegedly dumped; and translated transcripts of phone conversations at Rikers Island between Hernandez and his current wife, Rosemary.
The requests suggest jurors are trying to determine whether Hernandez’s confessions to murder have credibility, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“They seem to be focused on issues that we raised — the weather, the fact that where he says he put the box was actually a bakery in 1979, the phone calls between him and Rosemary, which show a very strong, loving connection between the two,” defense attorney Harvey Fishbein told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell.
The request for the weather is significant because Hernandez recalled that May 25, 1979, was a nice, sunny day. The weather, in fact, was gray and gloomy.
Hernandez confessed to police in 2012 that he offered Etan a soda to entice him into the basement of the SoHo bodega where he worked in 1979. Then, Hernandez said, he choked the boy and dumped him in a box with some curbside trash. Etan’s body has never been found.
“Something just took over me, and I was just choking him,” the Maple Shade, New Jersey, man confessed to police. “He just kind of stood there, and I just felt bad, what I did.”
Defense lawyers say Hernandez’s confession is fiction, dreamed up by a mentally ill man with a low IQ and a history of hallucinations and fueled by several hours of police questioning before Hernandez was read his rights.
On Friday, the jury asked to see the card with Miranda warnings Hernandez initialed after waving his right to remain silent, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported. They then asked for a missing child poster of Etan Patz that Hernandez was shown during a seven-hour interrogation, which led to his confession.
As Cornell reported, he had signed it and wrote on it that he choked the boy.
The jury’s questions to the judge involve how Hernandez’s statements were obtained, and Fishbein believes jurors may be considering whether there was undue influence, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“As a result of being in custody for 7 1/2 hours, he came out of that time period believing that he had actually harmed Etan Patz,” Fishbein said Friday.
Fishbein told CBS2’s Jessica Schneider that the evidence requests mean the jurors were diligently considering the evidence.
“I’m not getting a sense of dissension he said. They’re doing exactly what I asked them to do, look at the evidence. Not to have a knee jerk reaction,” he said.READ MORE: Jessica Beauvais Indicted In Crash That Killed NYPD Det. Anastasios Tsakos
Defense attorneys also said prosecutors have the wrong man on trial. The defense has pointed repeatedly to convicted child molester Jose Ramos as the real suspect.
Ramos denied involvement. However, a former federal prosecutor and FBI agent testified that Ramos told investigators he was “90 percent” sure a boy he took from a park was Etan, and Hernandez’s former prison cellmate testified that Ramos admitted molesting the boy.
Ramos dated a woman who was hired to walk Etan home from school during a bus strike.
But prosecutors told jurors during closing arguments that while Ramos may be a convicted pedophile, he is not guilty in this case.
Before his confession, Hernandez had never been considered a suspect — his name appears only once in law enforcement paperwork at the time Etan disappeared.
But prosecutors presented evidence that Hernandez confessed several times to church group members in the years following the crime.
Hernandez’s ex-wife, Daisy, and a friend also testified that he told them decades ago that he had killed someone while working in a bodega in New York City.
Daisy Hernandez also said she found a missing poster of Etan Patz among Hernandez’s possessions several years after the boy’s disappearance.
The defense argued that Hernandez’s ex-wife never mentioned the poster in her statement to police.
Five women and seven men will decide whether Hernandez is guilty or not on three separate charges: second-degree murder, felony murder and kidnapping.
The two different murder charges result from different theories under the law. If the jury finds that Hernandez deliberately killed Etan, they will convict him on second-degree murder charges.
If the panel decides Etan’s death resulted from actions during the course of a kidnapping, they will find him guilty on the felony murder charge.
Each of the three charges is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.
Etan’s photo was one of the first on milk cartons. The day he went missing, May 25, became National Missing Children’s Day.MORE NEWS: After More Than A Year, The Show Must Go On: More Broadway Shows Announce Plans To Resume Performances
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