crimesider

Etan Patz jury deadlocked for second time

Pedro Hernandez, right, appears in Manhattan criminal court with his attorney Harvey Fishbein, left, Nov. 15, 2012, in New York.

AP Photo/Louis Lanzano

NEW YORK - For the second time, the jury in the Etan Patz murder case has sent a note to the judge saying it cannot agree unanimously on a verdict, reports CBS New York.

And for the second time in as many weeks, according to a reporter for the station who is in the courtroom, the Judge Maxwell Wiley instructed jurors to keep deliberating in the case against Pedro Hernandez.

The jury note, delivered Tuesday afternoon, said, "After serious, significant and thorough deliberations, we remain unable to reach a unanimous decision."

Last week the jury produced a note with a similar message and at that time the judge also instructed them to keep going.

On Tuesday, after it came to the court's attention that they jury was deadlocked again, the defense moved for a mistrial.

After a 10-week trial, the jury has been trying to reach a unanimous verdict for three weeks now. Tuesday marks the 15th day of deliberations.

Pedro Hernandez is accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz, who disappeared while walking to his bus stop in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood in 1979.

Hernandez was arrested in 2012 after his brother-in-law told police Hernandez had said years earlier that he killed a child.

Hernandez, now 54, confessed to police that he offered Etan a soda to entice him into the basement of the SoHo bodega where he worked. Hernandez told investigators he choked the boy and dumped him in a box with some trash. Etan's body has never been found.

Hernandez's defense has argued the confession is fiction, dreamed up by a mentally ill man with a low IQ and a history of hallucinations fueled by several hours of police questioning. Instead, they point to convicted child molester Jose Ramos as the killer.