Jurors in the Etan Patz case asked the judge to reread his instruction on whether a confession needs to be corroborated as they finished a fourth full day without a verdict Tuesday on murder and kidnapping charges against ex-grocery clerk Pedro Hernandez.
Hernandez, 54, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, told police in a now-disputed 2012 confession that he lured 6-year-old Etan into the basement of the SoHo bodega where he worked and strangled him in 1979. The confession, which the defense says was a fantasy caused by a mental disorder, is the only direct evidence against Hernandez.
Justice Maxwell Wiley repeated the legal requirement to jurors that a defendants' words alone are not enough to prove a crime was committed. Prosecutors say Etan's disappearance for 35 years and other factors corroborate that he was a victim of foul play.
In other requests, jurors also asked to see diagrams of the bodega basement and hear instructions on circumstantial and hearsay evidence, as well as testimony from two psychiatric experts. Deliberations are set to resume Wednesday.