Accused child killer Levi Aron might be insane as a result of possible inbreeding, the lawyer of the Kensington man charged with murdering and dismembering 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky claimed this week.
The explosive allegations came out in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Wednesday, when attorney Howard Greenberg said he had reason to believe that coupling existed between Aron’s relatives in their tight-knit Hasidic community. He didn’t provide any proof, but hinted that the controversial issue could be used as a defense tactic when the case goes to trial next year.
“It’s still to be determined, but it’s a sense we got from talking to family members,” said the litigator, whose client was not in court, but seen projected on a TV screen, alone and slumped over at a table in Rikers Island.
Greenberg’s claims outraged Brooklyn’s Orthodox community, with Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Borough Park), who organized a search party when Kletzky disappeared in July, calling Greenberg “a sick, self-hating Jew who’s out of his mind.”
“It’s like he’s throwing mud at the wall and hoping something will stick!” Hikind said. “His behavior is despicable.”
Police say Aron, 35, kidnapped the Borough Park boy as he walked home from day camp, then murdered the child and hacked his body into pieces.
Greenberg said his defense team was exploring all available options.
“Am I blaming anything on inbreeding? Of course not,” he said. “Am I going to deny that’s something we need to look at? Of course not.”
Inbreeding — the result of mating between two genetically related parents — has long been linked to genetic defects, but recent studies show that its effect might be overblown. Australian scientists in 2008 found that the risk of such defects was only slightly greater among children of same-blood couples.
Greenberg, a veteran lawyer, is known for his outlandish statements. He said last month that he would quit practicing criminal law if Aron is found to be sane, claiming that, “Aron is either evil or he’s crazy.”
Brooklyn Rabbi Bernard Freilich told our sister publication, the New York Post, that it’s not unusual for cousins to marry in Orthodox communities, but that doesn’t make their offspring killers.
“There are thousands of [married] people in the community who are related and there’s no problem. It’s preposterous to say that because there’s a possibility of his parents being related, [Aron] would be crazy,” Freilich told the Post.