Accused Brooklyn butcher Levi Aron confessed on Thursday to kidnapping, killing, and then dismembering 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky as he entered a guilty plea guaranteeing that he spends the next four decades in prison.
Wearing an orange Department of Corrections jumpsuit and a yarmulke, Levi stammered out a brief account on how he grabbed Kletzky off a Borough Park street last July, then drugged and smothered the child with a towel when he realized that the entire community was looking for the missing boy.
Yet Aron’s confession wasn’t thorough enough for Judge Neil Firetog, who pelted the muttering murder suspect with questions until he outlined every devilish act.
With the 40-years-to-life plea deal completed, the former hardware-store clerk won’t be available for parole until he’s 76-year-old, explained Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes, who said Kletzky’s parents agreed to a plea so aspects of their child’s gruesome death wouldn’t be discussed in graphic detail at trial.
Kletzky’s family was happy they didn’t have to revisit the killing in a Brooklyn courtroom.
“There is no way one can comprehend or understand the unspeakable pain of losing a child,” Kletzky’s parents said in a letter read by Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D–Borough Park), who allocated $1 million in state funds so security cameras could be installed in Borough Park and Midwood in the wake of Kletzky’s murder — a measure that was criticized when it was learned that an ultra-Orthodox religious group that discourages Jews from reporting sex crimes to police without first consulting a rabbi would be put in charge of placing and monitoring the cameras. “Today we close the door on this one aspect of our tragedy.”
Investigators who tracked down and arrested Aron feel that justice has been served.
“He’s pleading guilty to a top count,” a law-enforcement source told our sister publication, the New York Post. “Aron is getting the sentence he would have gotten at trial.”
Aron’s defense agreed to the plea deal, but still contend that their client wasn’t mentally fit to stand trial, even though a psychiatrist’s report showed that Levi wasn’t unbalanced enough to plead insanity.
“He is very remorseful in his own way and unfortunately his mental capacity precludes him from expressing that,” defense lawyer Jennifer McCann told the Daily News.
Aron will return to court on Aug. 29 for sentencing.Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cn