The murder trial is under way in Manhattan Supreme Court. I have been digging in from time to time when the evidence focusses on defence claims that Hernandez's confession was false - the product of hours of aggressive questioning of a man with mental illness and a low IQ.
Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;
GIST: Several hours into a police interview of the man accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz, the suspect was curled on the floor in the fetal position and asking to go home, an assistant district attorney testified Monday. Virginia Nguyen shared that information from the witness stand in Manhattan Supreme Court, where Pedro Hernandez, 55, faces murder and kidnapping charges related to Etan’s 1979 disappearance. In 2012, Mr. Hernandez told investigators that he lured the first-grader into the basement of a bodega in SoHo, strangled him and then disposed of his body. His defense attorneys argue that the confession was false, the product of hours of aggressive questioning of a man with mental illness and a low IQ. Ms. Nguyen testified Monday that 90% to 95% of the questions detectives asked Mr. Hernandez before his confession were about his family and work history. “It was like a witness interview,” she said. “They were just asking questions and trying to figure out who he was and what information he had.” Ms. Nguyen said she watched several hours of the 2012 interview, which took place in a New Jersey prosecutor’s office, via a live video and audio feed. At some point, Mr. Hernandez began rocking back and forth in his chair, then got down on the floor of the interview room in the fetal position, without explanation, Ms. Nguyen said. New York police Detective James Lamendola continued to ask Mr. Hernandez questions and got him a jacket when he said he was cold, Ms. Nguyen said. Mr. Hernandez asked several times to go home, including when he was on the ground, Ms. Nguyen said. Each time, police persuaded him to stay and answer more questions, she said. Eventually, Mr. Hernandez confessed, she said. “He said, ‘I did it. I’m sorry. I choked the boy.’” During cross-examination, defense attorney Alice Fontier asked about Mr. Hernandez’s several requests to end the interview, which detectives repeatedly diverted. “When he said, ‘I want to go home,’ nobody stood up and pointed to the door and got out of his way,” Ms. Fontier said. Ms. Fontier also highlighted how Detective Lamendola probed Mr. Hernandez’s religious beliefs and was “playing psychologist” with Mr. Hernandez by asking him about his allegedly abusive childhood while telling him that abuse victims often become perpetrators later in life. Ms. Nguyen said Detective Lamendola repeatedly urged Mr. Hernandez to just tell the truth."
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