Levi Aron pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Supreme Court Thursday to last year's killing and dismembering of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky and will now face 40 years to life in prison when he is sentenced later this month. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
There were dramatic and emotional moments in court Thursday as Levi Aron barely mumbled how he kidnapped, killed and dismembered 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky last July.
With the help of the judge and his defense team, Aron admitted he kidnapped the 8-year-old boy off the street as he walked home alone from summer camp for the first time. He said he kept the boy in his apartment overnight. And he said he panicked when he realized the community was searching for the boy.
When the judge asked Aron whether he gave Kletzky drugs after he panicked, Aron said he did. He then admitted he smothered the boy.
Aron's defense lawyers said their client has mental issues and problems expressing himself. But they say he isn't insane.
"He understands the plea that he took today and the result from it," said defense attorney Pierre Bazile.
Kletzky's parents didn't appear in court but did ask Assemblyman Dov Hikind to read a statement from them.
"My family has finally received some partial closure on one aspect of this nightmare," the statement read. "Closure doesn't mean we don't continue to feel the pain."
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said he didn't want to plea bargain in the case but said Leiby's father asked him to.
"He convinced me that the family had suffered enough and that it would be an excruciating experience for them if a trial had gone forward," Hynes said.
The judge said on August 29 he will sentence Aron to 40 years to life in prison. Aron will eligible for parole in 40 years but his defense team said their client will more than likely never be a free man again.