Levi Aron is competent to stand trial in the dismemberment murder of an 8-year-old Brooklyn boy last month, his attorneys said Thursday during his arraignment.
The 35-year-od Orthodox Jewish man pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and killing Leiby Kletzky after the boy got lost walking home from camp on July 11 and asked Aron for help.
Aron told officials that he took Kletzky to a wedding and then to his Kensington apartment where he “panicked” after realizing that hundreds from the tight-knit Brooklyn community were searching for the Hasidic boy. “I didn’t know what to do,” Aron said according to court papers.
On July 12, Aron drugged Kletzky before suffocating him with a towel and dismembering him, police said. The boy’s feet were found in Aron’s freezer and the rest of his body was placed in a suitcase and dumped in a trash bin.
When police arrested Aron at his home on July 13, he said “I’m famous,” according to court records. He also told police that voices were “telling him to take his own life for what he did.”
Thursday, Aron stood silently as his attorneys Pierre Bazille and Jennifer L. McCann told a judge that Aron can participate in his defense. They haven’t ruled out an insanity defense and also indicated that they likely will ask for the case to be tried outside of Brooklyn “because the community’s rancor has been riled … against the defendant.”
Outside of court, McCann shocked the crowd by saying this case “was no different than the D.W.I.’s and the traffic tickets and the other murder cases. They are defendants. They have rights and we are here to defend them.”
Aron will remain at Bellevue’s psych ward until his next court date on Oct. 14.
In a statement, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, reaffirmed “that there are absolutely no circumstances which would lead me to accept a plea bargain.”