Etan Patz Jury Deadlocked for Three Weeks

     MANHATTAN (CN) – Three weeks into deliberations, a deadlocked jury in the Etan Patz murder case faced court orders for the second time Tuesday to get back to work.
     When 6-year-old Patz disappeared in 1979, he became the first child to appear on milk cartons across the nation.
     Nobody ever found Patz’s body or belongings, but New Jersey resident Pedro Hernandez has faced a months-long trial on the crime.
     Though New York’s initial suspect, Jose Ramos, gave a jailhouse confession to the Patz murder, the investigation into him went cold for lack of federal jurisdiction for a crime that occurred in his hometown of New York.
     Ramos is spending life in prison for repeatedly crossing state lines in his spree of raping young boys, but New Jersey police got a tip in early 2012 that Hernandez had come forward as the killer.
     After a 7.5-hour interrogation, Hernandez told a story that he already had shared with multiple acquaintances – that he killed a little boy in the basement of a store where he used to work in lower Manhattan.
     Hernandez kept on reporting the crime to police and his jailhouse psychiatrist, but his defense attorney said that his client’s memory should not be trusted.
     Defense attorney Harvey Fishbein maintains that with an IQ of 70 and a schizophrenia-related diagnosis, Hernandez may have been hallucinating his crimes, or his feeble mind may have cracked under the weight of coercive questioning.
     The defense team retained Icelandic professor Gísli Hannes Guðjónsson, an authority on false confessions, to lend his weight to the argument that Hernandez’s crimes only existed in his imagination.
     Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told a jury that Hernandez’s mental condition was a ruse created for the press.
     He noted that the Rikers Island prison recorded Hernandez telling his wife on the phone that newspapers printed “some crap” about him being “delusional.”
     Exactly three weeks after closing arguments wrapped , the jury reported for the second time in a week that they are unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
     It was the second such notice in a week, and Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley reacted Tuesday with a second “Allen Charge,” an admonition to head back to the deliberation room and get back to work.
     Fishbein said in an email that he believes the judge’s jury instructions were “not a standard Allen charge.
     “It is quite possible Judge Wiley wrote it specially for this case,” Fishbein added. “I objected to the charge because I believe that the jury has exhausted itself.”

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