Jurors in the Manhattan Supreme Court retrial of Pedro Hernandez for allegedly killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 began their deliberations over the notorious child disappearance case Wednesday after a three-month trial.
The panel of eight men and six women worked for about 90 minutes before leaving in the afternoon. They are scheduled to resume on Thursday. Deliberations in the first trial in 2015 of the 37-year-old mystery lasted 17 days and ended with the jury deadlocked 11-1 for conviction.
Etan’s father Stan Patz, Hernandez’s wife Rosemary, and his daughter Becky, and several members of the first jury including lone holdout Adam Sirois were all in court Wednesday as Justice Maxwell Wiley instructed the panel.
“To the best of your ability I ask you to apply common sense and good judgment,” Wiley told the jurors just before they left the courtroom at 3 p.m.
Hernandez, 54, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, was a bodega clerk in Etan’s SoHo neighborhood when the boy vanished without a trace on his way to catch a school bus.
A relative tipped off police in 2012 that Hernandez had made incriminating statements. Hernandez recorded a confession after a lengthy interrogation.
He said he lured Etan into the bodega basement and strangled the boy, putting the body in a box and carrying it to a garbage bin. He gave no motive, but prosecutors believe he sexually assaulted the boy.
The defense contends the confession was a delusion stemming from schizotypal personality disorder, a mental condition, and has tried to blame another longtime suspect, convicted child molester Jose Ramos, who had a link to the Patz family.
The jury foreman, whose name Newsday is withholding, identified himself as an electrical engineer for the MTA during voir dire. Other jurors include a software architect, an MBA, a construction company lawyer, a retired tax auditor and a college professor.
Jury selection began in September, and the retrial transcript runs more than 10,000 pages. Hernandez is charged with second degree murder and kidnapping.