The retrial of Pedro Hernandez for the alleged 1979 murder of 6-year-old Etan Patz in New York City is scheduled to commence this fall, PEOPLE confirms.
During a hearing held Tuesday morning in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Justice Maxwell Wiley said Sept. 6 would be the likely start date for the trial, though he said the date would be finalized during the next court date in the widely publicized case, which is scheduled for July 11.
Etan vanished back in 1979 while walking two blocks from his parents’ loft to a bus stop near a bodega in the SoHo district of New York City.
His murder remained unsolved for more than 30 years until May 2012, when police announced they had arrested Hernandez. At the time of Etan’s disappearance, Hernandez was an 18-year-old high school dropout who worked as a stock clerk at a bodega.
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Last year, Hernandez, 55, was tried for Patz’s murder. When three weeks of deliberations resulted in a deadlocked jury, the judge declared a mistrial.
Because the boy’s body was never found, the trial against Hernandez centered on a series of alleged confessions he gave to friends, members of a prayer group, his first wife and later to the police and prosecutors. During one police interview, Hernandez allegedly described how he strangled Etan, packed him up in a box and dumped him in the trash.
He later allegedly led police to the neighborhood and pointed out where he had left the boy’s body.
Hernandez’s defense attorneys have argued their client was pressured by police into confessing.
They contend Hernandez suffers from schizotypal personality disorder, a mental disorder characterized by severe social anxiety and paranoia.