The Orthodox Brooklyn man who confessed to abducting, murdering and dismembering an 8-year-old Hasidic boy last year was sentenced to 40 years-to-life in prison today. Levi Aron, who has been diagnosed as schizophrenic, pleaded guilty to lesser second-degree murder and kidnapping charges earlier this month to avoid a lengthy trial. The 37-year-old didn't say anything during his court appearance today; he'll be eligible for parole in 2052, though prosecutors said they'd fight him getting free: "Four decades from now his crime will not be forgotten despite the years. There will be letters waiting for the parole board."
Aron picked up Leiby Kletzky on July 11, 2011 as he was walking home from religious day camp; Aron abducted him, taking him to a wedding in upstate NY. Once news of his disappearance started to spread, Aron said he panicked; he admitted that Leiby tried to fight back as he killed him. He said he then dismembered him in order to put his body into a suitcase, and left it in a dumpster.
Prosecutor Julie Rendelman described the ordeal in court: “An innocent and angelic boy named Leiby Kletzky left his school and simply lost his way,” Rendelman said, according to the Post. “If he had run into any normal person he would have been safe. Levi Aron, taking advantage, chose not to make Leiby safe, chose not to take him home to his loving family. He made a choice that day. He could have let Leiby go, let him become a man and get married someday. He chose to take this boy’s life.”
No family of either Aron or Leiby appeared in court today. Aron’s lawyer Howard Greenberg urged officials to protect his client in jail: “If he’s not put in private custody while he’s in jail he’ll be murdered,” Greenberg said. “There’s a lot of sick and demented people in jail, so I worry for his life. His sentence is 40 years—not death.” "He's sorry and he wished he hadn't done it," his other defense lawyer, Pierre Bazile, added.
The victim's family released a statement saying they have "finally received some partial closure on one aspect of this nightmare."