The high-profile attorney who recently joined the defense team of the accused killer of an 8-year-old Borough Park boy said on Monday that his client is insane and was coerced by cops into writing his chilling confession shortly after his arrest.
Levi Aron, the reviled Kensington man who is accused of kidnapping, killing and mutilating Leiby Kletzky last summer, lacks the mental capacity to tell right from wrong, said Howard Greenberg, his new lawyer.
Prosecutors claim that Aron lured Kletzky into his car on July 11 after the child got lost walking home from day camp and later drugged, smothered and cut up his body to hide the evidence — something he confessed to in a hand-scrawled note hours after he was arrested on July 13.
But Greenberg claims cops fed him the confession and made him sign, “I understand this may be wrong and I’m sorry for the hurt I caused,” at the bottom, which he said is a line cops force many murder suspects to write to get around a mental illness plea.
“It was made to look like a rational act in an attempt to circumvent the insanity defense by attributing the difference between right and wrong,” he said. “I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen that as the tagline.”
Aron appeared in court for pretrial motions on Monday though a video link from Riker’s Island, where he has been in custody since August.
“Levi Aron is either evil or crazy and we intend to prove that he was not responsible by reason of insanity,” said Greenberg, who said that he and co-counsels Pierre Brazile and Jennifer McCann are defending Aron for free.
Greenberg joins a defense team that has seen its share of setbacks. One lawyer, Gerard Marrone, resigned shortly after taking on the case, citing the horrific nature of the crimes, and the judge, Justice Neil Firetog has publicly chastised McCann and Brazile for procedural errors, inexperience, and for speaking too freely with the press.
Reach reporter Dan MacLeod at email@example.com or by calling him at (718) 260-4507. You can also follow his Tweets at @dsmacleod.