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Suspect’s wife doubts confession in Etan Patz death

Posted at 3:10 PM, Jun 06, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-06 15:10:08-04

By Susan Candiotti and Ross Levitt

NEW YORK (CNN) — The wife of the accused killer of Etan Patz said her husband’s confession to police is coming from a man with mental illness, her lawyer told CNN Wednesday.

Rosemary Hernandez “feels strongly that the confession is unreliable,” attorney Robert Gottlieb said.

Pedro Hernandez is charged with the second degree murder of 6-year-old boy, who disappeared on his way to a New York City school bus stop more than 33 years ago.

The suspect, who is being held without bond at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, is receiving a medication called olanzapine, according to a source familiar with his medical history. The drug is used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia, according to the National Institutes of Health.

He is scheduled to undergo a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial, said his lawyer, Harvey Fishbein.

Hernandez admitted choking the boy after luring him into the basement of a bodega, a small grocery store, police said. He allegedly told authorities he threw away the boy’s body in a garbage bag. Etan’s remains were never found.

His lawyer previously told a judge that Hernandez has a history of mental disorders, suffers from hallucinations and is bipolar.

“Mrs. Hernandez has seen her husband’s delusions and hallucinations and other mental illnesses for a very long period of time,” Gottlieb said.

Rosemary Hernandez’ lawyer would not elaborate on the mental disorders nor would he provide an example of what his client observed.

“She does not believe the confession at all,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb said he was asked to represent the wife because of her growing frustration over the case and her desire to make sure prosecutors “understand the severity and nature of the mental illnesses.”

Pedro Hernandez’ next court appearance is scheduled for June 25.