The man convicted of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Tuesday, nearly 40 years after he kidnapped the boy.
Pedro Hernandez, 56, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, showed no emotion as he was handed the maximum allowed sentence for Etan’s murder by Justice Maxwell Wiley in Manhattan state court.
“We will never forgive you,” Stanley Patz, Etan’s father, said in a statement to the judge. “The God you pray to will never forgive you.”
Hernandez declined to speak during his sentencing. Defense attorney Harvey Fishbein said the defense plans to appeal.
“Pedro Hernandez is not the answer to what happened to Etan Patz 38 years ago,” Fishbein said. “This is not the end.”
Etan disappeared on May 25, 1979, while walking alone to his school bus stop in SoHo for the first time.
In 2012, Hernandez confessed to strangling Etan after luring him into a basement in the same neighborhood. The boy’s body was never found.
During his first trial, Hernandez’s lawyers claimed he hallucinated about killing Etan, and a jury was deadlocked 11-1.
A retrial began in October 2016 and the second jury found Hernandez guilty of murder on Feb. 14, 2017.
“Nearly two generations have come and gone since Etan disappeared,” New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance told a news conference after the sentencing. “But today … justice has been served.”
Hernandez’s sentencing had been postponed after it was revealed that multiple jurors knew that members of the previous jury were attending the trial along with the Patz family.
Defense lawyers had attempted to get a hearing on whether the jury deliberations were affected by the known presence of the former jurors, but Wiley ruled earlier in April that the information wasn’t sufficient to show the verdict was contaminated, and set a date for Hernandez’s sentencing.
With Reuters and Newsday