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Etan Patz: Accused killer mentally ill, lawyer says

May 25, 2012|By Tina Susman

NEW YORK -- The man accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz 33 years ago Friday has suffered from hallucinations, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, his attorney said in the first court hearing since the man confessed to the killing.

Pedro Hernandez, 51, sat silently, wearing an orange jumpsuit, his hands in cuffs behind his back. He did not appear in the Manhattan courtroom but appeared Friday night from New York's Bellevue Hospital via a video linkup to the courtroom.

His lawyer, Harvey Fishbein, said Hernandez has "a long psychiatric history," and he asked the judge to approve a mental health examination for the defendant. Hernandez did not speak and did not enter a plea to the second-degree murder charge filed earlier Friday.

Assistant Dist. Atty. Armand Durastanti said there should be no bail, and Fishbein did not request bail. Referring to the short walk Etan made the morning he vanished, from his home to a bus stop in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood, Durastanti said: "This is approximately 110 yards. He has not been seen or heard from since."

Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. ordered a mental health examination for Hernandez and set another court hearing for June 25.

No Patz or Hernandez family members were in court Friday night.

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tina.susman@latimes.com

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