NEW YORK – A man accused of kidnapping, killing, and dismembering an 8-year-old boy who asked him for directions was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after his lawyer told a judge that his client might be mentally ill.
He has indicated to me that he hears voices and has had some hallucinations,’’ said the attorney, Pierre Bazile.
Levi Aron, 35, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and kidnapping as prosecutors said he lured Leiby Kletzky to his home Monday after the little boy got lost while walking home from a city day camp.
Video cameras captured the fateful encounter between the two on a Brooklyn street, while Leiby’s mother waited anxiously a few blocks away. Detectives later found the boy’s severed feet, wrapped in plastic, in the man’s freezer.
At his arraignment yesterday, Aron appeared disheveled and confused. He stayed quiet during the proceeding. As he was led out of the court holding cells, other inmates screamed obscenities at him. He was held without bail and placed on suicide watch.
Police and prosecutors said Aron, a clerk at a hardware supply store, has confessed to suffocating the boy with a bath towel, but they continued to work on verifying his horrific and bizarre explanation for the boy’s death.
At the Kletzky household, family members also looked for answers.
“Why?’’ asked Shmuel Eckstein, a close family friend, as the boy’s parents and four sisters sat and prayed. “We don’t have that. . . . What we know is that through Leiby’s death, God is sending us a huge signal – that we’re doing something terribly wrong. And we’re looking for what it is.’’