Levi Aron, the Orthodox Jewish man accused of killing an 8-year-old boy on his way home from camp, is competent to stand trial, said a court evaluation released Thursday. Aron will participate in his own defense and understands that he is being charged with the dismemberment of Leiby Kletzky, defense lawyers said.
Aron will still face months of psychiatric evaluations in order to determine whether or not he was insane at the time of the murder, his attorney told reporters.
The 35-year-old maintenance supply worker was arrested for the murder and dismemberment of a Hasidic boy in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park July 13. Aron implicated himself in the murder and told police that he had abducted the boy and decided to kill him when he heard that police were frantically searching for him.
"When I saw the fliers, I panicked and was afraid," Aron said, according to police.
Aron also told police where the boy's remains were, in his refrigerator and a plastic bag inside of a red suitcase in a trash bin. Aron cut up the small boy with three bloody carving knives using a carving board. He also confessed to suffocating the boy with a towel, police and prosecutors said.
"We're glad he's been found competent but even we can't proceed until the psychiatric evaluation is done," attorney Jennifer McCann told Reuters.
Aron is charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping and could face life in prison without parole if convicted. The man has pleaded not guilty and is currently receiving treatment at Bellevue Hospital Center, McCann said.