Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has announced his intentions to retry the Etan Patz murder case.
After three weeks of deliberations, on May 8 a judge declared a mistrial in the case against Pedro Hernandez, the man accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz more than three decades ago. The decision came after the jury said they were deadlocked for the third time.
Only one juror, identified as Adam C. Sirois, held out against a conviction for the factory worker who allegedly confessed to the brutal murder. “Ultimately I couldn’t find enough evidence that was not circumstantial to convict,” Sirois told reporters during a news conference, according to The New York Times. “I couldn’t get there.”
Etan disappeared in 1979 while walking to the bus stop alone for the first time. For more than 30 years, no one knew what had happened to the little boy, who was the first missing child to be featured on milk cartons.
But in 2012, Hernandez, who worked at the corner store near the bus stop, admitted on videotape to the crime, describing in detail how he strangled the 6-year-old, packed him up in a box and dumped him in the trash. To this day, Etan’s body has never been found.
Defense attorney Harvey Fishbein dismissed the confession, saying that his client hears voices and “cannot distinguish between what is real and what is not.”
But prosecutors in the case disagree. Vance told MSNBC’s The Cycle on Monday that he found the evidence put forth by his prosecutors to be “compelling” and “clear.”
“It’s a challenging case, I’ve never said otherwise, but it’s a case we believe should be prosecuted,” he said. “That’s why we did, and in our system it happens from time to time that jurors cannot be unanimous, and this was one of those cases.”
He plans to officially announce his intentions to retry the case in June.
Said Fishbein to NBC News on Monday: “I have not received any official notification, but if the D.A.’s office elects to retry the case, I assure you we will be ready.”
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.