Thursday, August 9, 2012
Levi Aron expected to plead guilty in Kletzky murder
NEW YORK -- A man accused of abducting and dismembering an 8-year-old boy who got lost on the way home is expected to enter a guilty plea to avoid trial.
Levi Aron is slated to appear in Brooklyn supreme court for a status hearing Thursday at 2:15 p.m. He has previously pleaded not guilty to killing Leiby Kletzky, who went missing while walking home from religious day camp.
State Assemblyman Dov Hikind has said Aron is expected to enter the plea as part of a deal that would result in a life sentence.
Prosecutors struck the deal in close consultation with Kletzky's family, the assemblyman said.
The boy's disappearance and horrific death last year stunned his tight-knit Hasidic community in a section of Brooklyn represented by Hikind.
A person briefed on the plea negotiations told The Associated Press that under the pending agreement, Aron would get a sentence of 40 years to life behind bars.
The person was not authorized to discuss the deal publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
For Kletzky's family, the loss of their only son has been almost too much to bear.
"They're strong, tremendous faith in God, but not easy, you know, someone is always missing from the table," Hikind said.
On Thursday, Hikind will be the family's voice in court, reading a message from Leiby's parents about how the murder of their 8-year-old son has altered their lives in unimaginable ways.
"It really speaks about this family and how grateful they are to God and how grateful they are to everyone for being there for them," Hikind said.
Leiby was kidnapped on July 11, 2011 after getting lost on the first day he'd been allowed to walk home alone from his day camp.
He stopped to ask directions from Levi Aron, also a member of Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community, but instead of helping him, Aron is charged with luring Leiby to his apartment, where he allegedly drugged him, murdered him and dismembered his body.
The randomness and brutality of the crime inspired sympathy from around the globe.
"Leiby is my son, your son, and everyone's son, everyone got it, the tragedy, of what unfolded here during those days," Hikind said.
The Kletzky family is said to be happy that at least there will be closure in the criminal aspect of this tragedy.
Although the family will not be in court Thursday, they will be following the proceedings closely.