Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bulletin: Pedro Hernandez: New York; Commentator says Patz jurors face unusual burden of mulling fate of confessed 'killer': SoHo: DNAinfo.com;

"As the Etan Patz trial enters its 11th week, jurors are facing an unusual burden: determining whether to convict Pedro Hernandez on the basis of his confessions without any physical evidence to back his tale — or free the only suspect to ever confess to the sensational 1979 murder. In most murder trials, defendants claim they are innocent, and the burden of proof falls on the prosecution to prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But in the Patz case, jurors face a defendant who has admitted several times he is Patz's killer. Justice Maxwell Wiley has instructed the jury that it cannot convict Hernandez solely on the accused man's own words, especially since Etan's body has never been found. That leaves jurors with the gut-wrenching responsibility of deciding between justice and potential closure for the Patz family by convicting Hernandez, now 54, against the possibility that they are convicting a mentally feeble man who was pressured into a false confession, as his lawyer argues. Hernandez’s defense lawyer Harvey Fishbein has insisted jurors disregard his client's numerous confessions, arguing that Hernandez only imagined that he killed Patz. Fishbein has argued that the killer was more likely Jose Ramos, a convicted pedophile who dated Etan's babysitter and has admitted to trying to molest the boy the day he went missing."