STORY: "Patz Suspect’s Family Recalls Odd Behavior by a Reserved, Troubled Man," by reporters Rick Rojas and Kate Pastordek, published by The New York Times on December 12, 2106.
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GIST: "He demanded that his daughter hold his hand as she crossed the street, even though she was a teenager. He could be stubborn and taciturn and strict with his rules. He warned his daughter about a dark world — one in which there “were no good people.” The woman, Becky Hernandez, said with resignation that she had come to learn that her father, Pedro Hernandez, was a peculiar man. He told her about visions of an angelic “lady in white” and demons that choked him, and she remembered him watering a dead tree branch, thinking it would grow. “It was just my dad,” Ms. Hernandez, 27, testified on Monday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, where her father is on trial on charges of killing and kidnapping Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared on the walk to his school bus stop in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan in 1979. The defense started laying out its arguments last week by hammering away at the credibility of Mr. Hernandez, whose own words, in admissions made to investigators, are the heart of the prosecution’s case. Mr. Hernandez’s lawyers have sought to portray their client as having limited intelligence and difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality, as well as with making friends. They argue that Mr. Hernandez, 55, has schizotypal personality disorder, which can include symptoms such as severe social anxiety, paranoia and odd beliefs. Dr. Michael First, a psychiatrist, testified that Mr. Hernandez showed signs of paranoia when he covered up windows and said he was being watched through the cracks in the ceiling of his jail cell. Dr. First said Mr. Hernandez’s lack of close friendships and his stoic demeanor were also indications of the disorder. Mr. Hernandez’s lawyers showed video of Mr. Hernandez, taken from a psychiatric interview in 2014 while he was in jail, in which he describes his visions, like black shapes moving around his room at night. In one moment, his eyes darted nervously around the room. Prosecutors have countered that Mr. Hernandez was malingering — feigning symptoms in order to avoid being convicted of killing Etan — and said that even if he had the disorder, it did not mean his confessions were false. At one point during a lengthy cross-examination, Joel Seidemann, a prosecutor, asked if Mr. Hernandez could have knowingly created the characters that he claimed he saw with Etan in the basement of the bodega where he worked when the boy went missing. Dr. First said it was “a possibility.” Yet, Dr. First added, “he could also be imagining or making up the fact that he strangled Etan Patz.” Dr. First said he had ruled out the possibility Mr. Hernandez was malingering in part because Mr. Hernandez had shown signs of the disorder before his arrest in 2012."
The entire story can be found at:
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.