Levi Aron, the 35-year-old hardware store clerk accused of abducting an 8-year-old Brooklyn boy off the street and killing him before cutting up his body was formally charged Thursday afternoon. This is video of the arraignment.
The Brooklyn man accused of killing and dismembering an 8-year-old boy who got lost walking home from camp said in his first jailhouse interview that “it hurts too much to think about” the day the child was killed.
Levi Aron maintains he doesn't know what happened, and that he panicked before allegedly dosing the child with a toxic drug combination, smothering him to death and chopping up his body, according to an exclusive interview conducted by the Daily News.
Aron is being held in an infirmary at Rikers Island on round-the-clock suicide watch. He tells the News he hasn't spoken to his family since his July 13 arrest.
When asked repeatedly by the News if he wanted to apologize, Aron remained silent but once nodded his head. To many questions, he responded merely, “I don’t know.” He would not utter Kletzky’s name in the hour-long News interview and referred to killing the boy only as "the incident."
“I remember little things,” he told the paper, offering no further details.
Aron, 35, has pleaded not guilty to murder and kidnapping charges in the death of Kletzky. The boy's severed feet were found in Aron's refrigerator; the rest of the body was discovered in pieces in a suitcase elsewhere in Brooklyn.
Aron told his lawyer early in the case that he hears voices. He told the News he "sometimes" hears them.
A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation portrayed Aron as a “practically blank” personality whose younger sister died while institutionalized with schizophrenia. He was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder and a personality disorder with schizoid features, but found fit to stand trial on murder charges in Kletzky’s death.
The evaluation offers little details on a possible motive and does not delve much into the crime.
Aron offered the News a small explanation for why he took Kletzky, saying, "He looked familiar. I thought I knew him."
Asked by the News if he wished he had never met Kletzky, Aron replied, "Sometimes."
The abduction and heinous murder rocked the 8-year-old’s Hasidic community, the larger community of New York and the entire nation.
In a statement soon after he was taken into custody, Aron told police he took the child to a wedding in Monsey the evening of the abduction. The child did not want to get out of the car so Aron told the News that he let him stay in the vehicle with the windows down.
Previously, wedding guests had told police they saw Aron at the affair, but did not see the child.
Aron told police he brought the boy back to his home in Brooklyn after the wedding, intending to return him to his parents the next day. But after he went to work the following morning at his hardware store job around the corner, Aron told cops he saw missing persons posters, panicked and killed the boy when he got home.
A pretrial hearing is set for Oct. 14.
NBC New York obtained the statement Aron gave to police after he was arrested.