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In Etan Patz case, deadlocked jury reviews defense closing arguments

Pedro Hernandez, right, appears in Manhattan criminal court

Pedro Hernandez, right, appears in Manhattan criminal court with his attorney Harvey Fishbein, in New York in 2012. Photo Credit: AP / Louis Lanzano, Pool, File

One day after reporting it was deadlocked, the jury in the Etan Patz murder trial Thursday listened to a read-back of closing arguments by the defense in an attempt to end its stalemate over charges against former bodega worker Pedro Hernandez.

The jurors, who have deliberated since April 15, originally asked to hear both the defense and prosecution summations after Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley refused to declare a mistrial Wednesday and ordered them to keep trying to reach an agreement.

In the morning, they told Wiley they wanted to hear the defense and then deliberate before hearing the prosecution's closing. The read-back of the defense summation ended at 3:30, and the jury deliberated for 90 minutes before going home for the day.

Six-year-old Etan vanished on his way to a school bus in SoHo on May 25, 1979. Hernandez, 54, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, said in a now disputed 2012 confession that while working as a teen at a SoHo bodega he strangled the boy in the store basement.

The trial has lasted 10 weeks. Deliberations are scheduled to resume on Friday.

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