STORY: "2 Sides Spar Over Patz Suspect’s Competence and Validity of His Confession," by Rick Rojas and Kate Pastordec, published by The New York Times on December 21, 2016.
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GIST: "The detectives tried to draw Pedro Hernandez out by appealing to his religious faith, telling him that he had shown the “strength of the Lord.” They called him “Papí,” and patted his head and his back as the interview wore on. Then, several hours into the interrogation, during which he said he wanted to go home and, at one point, curled into a fetal position on the floor, Mr. Hernandez opened up about a crime that had been unresolved for decades. He told the investigators that he had lured Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who disappeared in 1979 while walking to a school bus stop in Manhattan, into the basement of a bodega where he worked, choked him and dumped his body with garbage a couple of blocks away. But Dr. Bruce Frumkin, a clinical psychologist appearing for the defense, testified this week in State Supreme Court in Manhattan that Mr. Hernandez might have, essentially, told the detectives what they had wanted to hear. Mr. Hernandez, 55, is on trial for the second time on charges of kidnapping and killing Etan, with prosecutors relying largely on the admissions made by Mr. Hernandez in statements to the authorities around the time of his arrest in 2012 and to relatives and members of a prayer group years before that. A previous trial ended in a hung jury. Mr. Hernandez’s lawyers argue that he has limited intelligence and a personality disorder, making it difficult for him to distinguish between fantasy and reality and leading him to admit to crimes he did not commit. Experts testifying for the defense have said Mr. Hernandez showed symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder, including severe social anxiety, paranoia and odd beliefs. His daughter has testified that he told his family about visions he had. Dr. Frumkin testified that Mr. Hernandez was more vulnerable than the average person to falsely confessing, and that lengthy interrogations could also lead to false confessions, particularly from someone, like Mr. Hernandez, with a low I.Q. Dr. Frumkin said that in his testing he had found Mr. Hernandez to be “highly suggestible,” and more likely to “give in to leading information.” Mr. Hernandez also had a poor memory, Dr. Frumkin testified, and was “not a very reliable historian.” Dr. Frumkin also said that Mr. Hernandez had a tendency to crave acceptance, which had come into play during the interrogation with the detectives in 2012, as they patted and embraced him. In addition, Dr. Frumkin said, the authorities had minimized to Mr. Hernandez the consequences and gravity of his confession. He seemed to trust the detectives, Dr. Frumkin said, noting his behavior in a video where he can be seen walking with them through SoHo after his arrest, from the bodega where he said he encountered Etan to near the corridor where he said he dropped the body. “He believed he was part of the team,” Dr. Frumkin said. “The detectives were his friends. They were reinforcing him. They were praising him.” Prosecutors have argued that Mr. Hernandez could have been feigning symptoms to avoid being convicted. Joel J. Seidemann, an assistant Manhattan district attorney, suggested that Mr. Hernandez’s paranoid behavior — covering his windows and expressing fear that he was being watched, for instance — was a result of his cocaine use, and that his unusual beliefs could be traced to religious or cultural underpinnings. Mr. Seidemann also took issue with the depiction of Mr. Hernandez as often having a stoic demeanor, another sign of schizotypal personality disorder, by showing a video of him singing at his brother’s funeral. Mr. Seidemann suggested that Mr. Hernandez might instead have intermittent explosive disorder, which is characterized by angry and violent outbursts. He argued that Mr. Hernandez had long been saddled with guilt and a desire to unburden himself. Mr. Seidemann showed a psychological report related to Mr. Hernandez’s efforts to obtain disability benefits in which a doctor noted that he felt like a “condemned person.” “He feels that he deserves to be punished for wrongs he has committed,” the report said. At one point that, Dr. Frumkin said that Mr. Hernandez was “not bright enough to malinger subtle features of a severe mental disorder.”"......... Mr. Seidemann said the notions that Mr. Hernandez’s confession stemmed from a delusion and that the authorities had fed him information about the crime were “totally inconsistent” with each other, and did not explain why he had spoken in the past about committing such a crime. But Dr. Frumkin said Mr. Hernandez’s recollections of what happened did not “make any sense,” and did not undercut the argument that he had a personality disorder. “His stories are all over the place,” Dr. Frumkin said. “He doesn’t know what to believe, so I don’t know what to believe.”"
The entire story can be found at:
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/