Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pedro Hernandez: New York Daily News columnist Dennis Hamill's describes a "hardworking" jury that continues to deliberate as mysteries swirl. (A very lovely read. HL);

COMMENTARY: "Hardworking Etan Patz jury continues to deliberate as mysteries swirl, Hamill," published by the New York Daily News on April 25, 2015l

GIST: "On the seventh day of deliberations, it felt like “The Breakfast Club.” I hadn’t sat on a wooden bench this long since grammar school detention. On Thursday before lunch, the 60-odd members of the press awaiting a verdict on Pedro Hernandez, who has confessed to killing Etan Patz 36 years ago, were hoping for a proverbial “Friday verdict.” Not from this conscientious jury. On Thursday, the jury requested several hundred pages of read-back testimony involving a longtime suspect named Jose Ramos, a pedophile monster locked up for unrelated crimes. For years, the Patz family was convinced Ramos had murdered their son who disappeared walking alone from his Prince St. home to a school bus stop on W. Broadway on the morning of May 25, 1979. “We’re looking at a Tuesday verdict, earliest,” says one yawning reporter. “That’s if they reach one,” says another. One reporter pantomimed hanging himself, which suggested two words — hung jury. But this jury does not look disharmonious. Just really hardworking. Most seem old enough to understand that the Etan Patz case forever changed child-rearing in New York, frightening even the most liberal of parents to start trick-or-treating with their kids.........It gets tougher. Hernandez, 54, has never been arrested for any other crime before or since. These jurors are expected to believe that only once in his lifetime this churchgoing man just decided to strangle and bag a child in a bodega cellar and dump him in a spot he can’t quite recall on a day for which he remembers the weather all wrong. Most reporters covering this story aren’t sure if the right guy is on trial. If they were jurors, lead defense attorney Harvey Fishbein says that would require a not guilty verdict based on reasonable doubt. Even the court officers at 111 Centre St. are divided. “We’re about 50/50,” one court officer says. “Half think he’s guilty. The other half of us are unsure, that maybe the other guy, Ramos, killed Etan.” If they were jurors, they would be deadlocked.........The courtroom sketch artists also have theories. One artist says the jury will be out 10 days — one day for every week of the trial. Another says the colors the jurors wear matter. “Bright colors mean they’re still unsure,” she says. “Darker colors mean the verdict is close. Black clothes mean it’s a guilty verdict.” Another says she already worked on her “guilty” and “not guilty” sketches. After the jury’s request Thursday for hundreds of pages of read-back she said, “I better work on a ‘deadlocked.’ ” Unlike other big trials such as the Mafia Cops, Gotti trials and Sean Bell, the public hasn’t crowded the Etan Patz courtroom. Part of this is generational. Partly because Hernandez is a cipher with the IQ of his hat size who doesn’t wear a white or black hat. Pedro Hernandez wears a hat as gray as the fog of time and mystery that continues to shroud this heartbreaking case. Another reason this diligent jury is working overtime trying to reach a just verdict."

The entire commentary can be found at:


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