On Tuesday morning, during a hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. in New York, the start date for Pedro Hernandez’s impending retrial for the alleged 1979 slaying of 6-year-old Etan Patz will be determined, PEOPLE confirms.
Last year, Hernandez, 55, was tried for Patz’s murder – a crime he allegedly confessed to. When three weeks of deliberations resulted in a deadlocked jury, the judge declared a mistrial.
Almost immediately, prosecutors announced plans to retry Hernandez. His lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, tells PEOPLE the second trial will likely commence in September.
The Etan Patz case continued to fascinate the public long after the little boy went missing from Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. Formal murder charges weren’t filed until 2012, when Hernandez allegedly told investigators he lured the boy into the bodega where he worked by promising him a soda before killing Etan in the store’s basement and disposing of his remains in a dumpster.
Here are five things to know about Hernandez, whose lawyer has long maintained there is no physical evidence proving his client’s guilt.
1. Pedro Hernandez came to the east coast from Puerto Rico
Hernandez moved to the United States from Puerto Rico during the early 1970s, and his family settled in southern New Jersey. Hernandez was 18 when Patz vanished and was working as a stock boy in a bodega not far from Etan’s home.
He allegedly told police he strangled the child before placing his body in a garbage bag. Detectives did not interview Hernandez during their initial investigation into Etan’s disappearance.
2. Hernandez bragged about his alleged crime
According to investigators, Hernandez reportedly began telling his relatives about how he had murdered a child in 1981. The story became a rumor that was shared for years among his family members.
Hernandez was apprehended after police conducted interviews with his ex-wife and his sister. His ex-wife claimed she had once found a torn piece of a missing poster with Etan’s face inside a shoebox belonging to her husband. She also told authorities her ex had boasted about strangling someone in New York.
3. Police began investigating Hernandez after receiving a tip from his brother-in-law
According to court records, it was Hernandez’s brother-in-law, Jose Lopez, who initially tipped off police to his possible involvement in Patz’s disappearance and murder. Lopez had called police in 2004 with information about Hernandez’s criminal claims, and then came forward again in 2012.
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Police claim that Hernandez allegedly confessed to the boy’s slaying in 2012, providing investigators with incriminating details about the boy’s death. Etan’s body has never been recovered.
4. Hernandez had no criminal past
According to arrest records, Hernandez arrest in 2012 was his first. But prosecutors allege that, over the course of his adult life, he’d been accused of spousal abuse, molestation, and drug possession.
The district attorney’s office claims in court papers that Hernandez engaged “in a pattern of criminal behavior … throughout his life, including sexual abuse of a family member, multiple incidents of domestic violence against his former and current wife.” It also alleges he was a chronic cocaine user.
5. Hernandez allegedly suffers from schizophrenia
His lawyer claims Hernandez has an IQ of 67, and that his medical records contain numerous references to schizophrenia. He has taken anti-psychotic medication for some years and allegedly experiences hallucinations.
Soon after his arrest, doctors diagnosed Hernandez with schizotypal personality disorder, a mental disorder characterized by severe social anxiety and paranoia. During his first trial, a psychiatrist who is an expert in determining the reliability of confessions testified that relying on Hernandez’s statements would be “profoundly unsafe” without corroborating physical evidence.
Fishbein has previously claimed his client hears voices and “cannot distinguish between what is real and what is not.”