Levi Aron Attorney Raises Head Injury, "Inbreeding" as Possible Defenses

Lawyer's comments on inbreeding in Borough Park raise the ire of a local lawmaker

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    This file photo shows Levi Aron appearing before a judge in Brooklyn criminal court.

    The defense attorney for accused child killer Levi Aron revealed more of his possible insanity defense on Wednesday, reportedly saying that his client suffered a head injury, was diagnosed as a schizophrenic and comes from a community with "inbreeding."

    "It's a very simple case: Levi Aron is either evil or he's crazy," Howard Greenberg told reporters in Brooklyn Supreme Court after a brief hearing, according to the Daily News. "He suffered a severe head injury as a young man. There's a history of schizophrenia. There's inbreeding in that community."

    The 35-year-old Aron is accused of abducting, killing and dismembering Leiby Kletzky, an 8-year-old who was walking home from day camp in Borough Park in July.

    The lawyer said inbreeding was an element among the Hasidic community in Borough Park and "that's an aspect of his familial history," the News reported.

    The comments were not well-received by state Assemblyman Dov Hikind who represents Borough Park and called the defense attorney a "a sick, self-hating Jew who is out of his mind" and a "disgrace to the profession."

    " What an absolutely vile, disgusting, and wholly untrue remark," Hikind said in a statement. "His comments are nothing more than an attempt to distract and confuse the public into thinking there is some merit to his ridiculous assertion. It’s clear that Mr. Greenberg is scrambling to present any type of defense in the face of overwhelming and shocking evidence."

    Aron was not in Brooklyn court for the hearing.  He appeared via a hookup from Rikers Island.

    Kletzky went missing July 11 while walking home from religious day camp, the first time he was allowed to walk by himself. He missed his turn and got lost, and police say he approached Aron for help.

    About two days later, the boy's severed feet were found in the freezer at Aron's apartment, along with bloody knives and a carving board. The rest of the boy's body was found in a red suitcase in a trash bin several blocks away. His legs had been cut from his torso.

    According to prosecutors, Aron admitted he killed the boy after he panicked when he saw posters with the child's photo. After the two met on the street, Aron took the boy to a wedding upstate, then to his apartment.

    Read a redacted transcript of his confession here.

    The child remained at the apartment alone all day while Aron was at work. When Aron returned, he took a bath towel and smothered the boy, he said, according to authorities.

    The medical examiner's office said the boy was given a cocktail of prescription drugs. But Aron's confession didn't mention that, and he denied ever tying up the boy, though marks were found on the child's body.

    A court-ordered evaluation in August found Aron fit to stand trial on murder charges, but said he is deeply troubled, with an adjustment disorder and a personality disorder with schizoid features.

    "His mood is neutral, practically blank," the psychologist wrote in the evaluation. "The only time he seems to show any emotional response is when he is asked difficult questions about the reason for his incarceration."