Former hardware store clerk Levi Aron had no words of remorse Wednesday as he was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison for abducting and dismembering 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky after the boy got lost on his way home from camp in Borough Park last summer.
"No," mumbled Aron, handcuffed and dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, when Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Neil Firetog asked if he had anything to say during a sentencing hearing.
The sentence -- consecutive terms of 25 years for murder and 15 years for kidnapping -- was the pre-scripted final act in a deal that Aron, 37, agreed to in his guilty plea on Aug. 9. Firetog ordered him held in protective custody, a step his lawyers requested to shield him from the vengeance of other prisoners.
Leiby's parents, Nachman and Esther, did not attend the sentencing, but prosecutor Julie Rendelman read aloud a letter from Nachman Kletzky, identical to one he released following the guilty plea. In it, he said he supported the plea deal to avoid reliving the horror of the murder at trial.
"A day doesn't pass without our thinking of Leiby, but today we close the door on this one aspect of our tragedy," the father wrote.
Aron, in his plea, admitted that he picked up Leiby while the boy was looking for directions, took him to his apartment and drugged him.
He said he panicked when he found out a search was under way, smothered the boy and cut him up to try to hide the body.
Rendelman said that although Aron will be eligible for parole in 40 years, the district attorney's office would oppose it and would make sure letters are on file in four decades to bring home the "horrible events" of last year.
"He could have let him live, become a man, marry one day," she said. "But that was not his choice. His choice was to take the life of this innocent, angelic boy."
Aron's defense lawyers have said that he suffers from mental limitations, but didn't meet the standard for an insanity defense.
Outside the courtroom, they said he felt remorse and had expressed it to them many times, but could not do it in a public forum. "For him to speak publicly is very hard," lawyer Jennifer McCann said. "He is embarrassed, remorseful and ashamed. But he feels whatever he says will seem insincere."