Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

The Murder of Leiby Kletzky in Brooklyn

On July 11, 2011, 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky was going to walk home alone from day camp for the first time. It was something the little boy had always wanted to do, and his parents had carefully planned out his route, including where and when they'd meet him. But that milestone in the life of an urban child became a mystery and then a tragedy. Leiby never made it to the appointed corner; he had gotten lost and was picked up by a stranger. The close-knit Hasidic community of Borough Park, Brooklyn, immediately put out flyers, and neighborhood groups began searching for the boy. Closed-circuit-television cameras appeared to have picked up Leiby's last whereabouts. But the child wasn't found alive. He had been taken by Levi Aron, 35, a clerk at a local plumbing-supply shop, who said he panicked when he saw the missing-person posters all over the the place. In his confession, Aron said he smothered the child and, not knowing what to do with the body, cut off Leiby's feet, put them in the refrigerator and dropped the body, stuffed in a small suitcase, in a dumpster. Aron's lawyers, who say the confession was coerced, claim their client hears voices and, in October, said they would pursue an insanity defense.