Hours after the city medical examiner ruled that eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky was heavily drugged and smothered and a Brooklyn grand jury indicted his alleged killer on felony murder charges, mourners attended a memorial service in Borough Park Wednesday night.
Hundreds of members of the local Hasidic Jewish community sought closure as they flocked to a service at the Sefardishe Shul on 14th Avenue for the boy who got lost on his way home from a day camp in Borough Park and triggered a massive search effort on the evening of July 11.
Investigators believe Levi Aron, 35, approached Leiby that day and kept him under his care for nearly a day-and-a-half before killing and dismembering him in his Kensington apartment.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced Wednesday afternoon that a grand jury has indicted Aron on murder charges and that the city medical examiner ruled the death of eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky a homicide.
Aron is facing a total of eights counts -- two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree kidnapping and one count of second-degree kidnapping. He faces the maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.
The medical examiner has ruled that Leiby died in the early morning of July 13 from an overdose of muscle relaxant, antipsychotics, pain medication and acetaminophen, and was then smothered by a towel.
Within a few hours of Leiby's death, shortly before 3 a.m. on July 13, detectives found Aron standing by a dark plastic bag covered with fresh blood and discovered the boy's severed feet inside Aron's refrigerator. The boy's head, torso and severed legs were found later that morning in a suitcase in a dumpster more than two miles away.
"One of the counts in this indictment is murder in the first degree. We charge that the child was kept for more than 12 hours, that it was an intent to kill, and that's based on ingestion of the medication," said Hynes.
In a statement to police, Aron wrote that before he killed Leiby he brought the boy to an upstate wedding the night of July 11. Police now believe the boy was brought to Monsey, N.Y., but not necessarily inside the wedding venue.
"At some point, the child was in Monsey, and we have confirmation from independent sources," Hynes said. "For example, the gasoline station where the child stopped to go to the restroom."
Aron has pleaded not guilty to murder and kidnapping.
According to his lawyers, Aron hears voices and as of Wednesday was still undergoing court-ordered psychiatric exams to decide if he is capable of standing trial.
Meanwhile, City Councilman David Greenfield plans to introduce legislation designed to create safe havens for children.
The proposed Leiby's Law would allow businesses where employees have undergone background checks to post safe haven stickers in store windows to let children know they can get help inside.