The man convicted of kidnapping and murdering little Etan Patz was sentenced Tuesday, ending a case that tormentened Patz's parents and frustrated investigators for nearly four decades. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report:
For 38 years, Stanley and Julie Patz spent each day seeking justice.
On Tuesday, they got it, when Pedro Hernandez - convicted in February of killing their 6-year-old son in 1979 - was sentenced in Manhattan state Supreme Court to 25 years to life in prison.
Inside the courtroom, Stanley Patz finally addressed his son's killer, telling him "I will never forgive you. The God you pray to will never forgive you."
"Now I know what the face of evil looks like, and he's finally convicted," Patz told reporters after the sentencing.
Hernandez appeared to avoid eye contact with Stanley Patz, as the still-grieving father addressed him. Hernandez declined to address the court, and showed no remorse.
"He should have but we sort of know what this person is and I'm not sure he shares regular feelings like the rest of us," Stanley Patz said..
The disappearance of Etan Patz shook the city and changed how parents across America watch over their children. For years, it looked like the case would never be solved, but in 2010 Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance reopened the investigation.
"I am overwhelmed often by the difficulty it takes to achieve justice for victims in cases particularly that have gone without resolution for some years," Vance said after the hearing Tuesday.
A jury found Hernandez kidnapped and killed little Etan, in the basement of a SoHo bodega where Hernandez worked. On that day, Etan was walking alone for the first time from his apartment to his school bus. Prosecutors say Hernandez lured Etan into the basement, strangled him and then threw him in the garbage.
It took decades of false leads and two trials to reach the conviction.. which hinged on multiple recorded confessions Hernandez made to police.
Hernandez's lawyers say Hernandez confessed only because of mental illness. In court, they said they would appeal.
Stanley Patz said he never thought he'd find out what happened to his son. Now, 38 years later the man convicted of killing the young boy likely will spend the rest of his life behind bars.