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Pedro Hernandez's taped confession in Etan Patz case is admissible as evidence, judge rules

Etan Patz, 6, disappeared on the morning of

Etan Patz, 6, disappeared on the morning of May 25, 1979, after leaving his SoHo apartment. Photo Credit: NYPD

A New York judge has ruled that the videotaped confession by Pedro Hernandez, the man charged with killing Etan Patz, is admissible as evidence at trial.

Patz, a 6-year-old Manhattan boy, disappeared in 1979. His body was never found.

Hernandez told investigators in a 2012 videotaped confession that he "wanted to let [Patz] go" but "something took over me."

During the interrogation, Hernandez said he saw Etan -- on his way to school -- on the sidewalk, and lured him to the bodega basement by offering a soda.

"I grabbed him by the neck and started choking him," said Hernandez, speaking in a soft, meek voice and clutching his neck to illustrate. "I was nervous and my legs were shaking. I wanted to let go, and I couldn't let go. . . . I felt like something took over me."

He told investigators he kept squeezing until Etan went "limp" and dropped. He claimed the boy was still alive when he wrapped him in a garbage bag, stuffed it in a cardboard "banana box," lugged it on his shoulder and dumped it in a nearby alley.

Hernandez estimated the entire episode took "three to four minutes." He insisted he never touched Etan sexually but again and again deflected questions about his motives.

"I am sorry I did it," he said. "I wish there is something I could do to go back. . . . . Something was pushing me. Why I did it, I do not know."

Hernandez was picked up in New Jersey on May 23, 2012 after a tipster told police that Hernandez -- a married janitor living in Maple Shade, New Jersey -- had privately admitted involvement in the decades-old case.

Hernandez was questioned for seven hours before making a taped confession, lawyers told Wiley. A second confession -- the one played in court -- was recorded in New York from 2 to 7 a.m.

Hernandez's lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, said the confessions should be thrown out because he didn't receive Miranda warnings for the first seven hours, was manipulated by police, and with an IQ of about 70, did not understand his right to remain silent.

Hernandez no longer admits to the crime, according to his lawyer.


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