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NJ man pleads not guilty in '79 death of NYC boy

7:23 PM, Dec 12, 2012   |    comments
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By COLLEEN LONG / Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The man charged with killing a 6-year-old New York City boy in 1979 has pleaded not guilty to murder despite police saying he confessed to the crime.

The lawyer for 51-year-old Pedro Hernandez of New Jersey says his defense will revolve around his mental state, but he isn't pursuing an insanity defense.

Etan Patz disappeared as he walked to the bus stop on his way to school. His case touched off a massive search that ebbed and flowed for three decades until Hernandez's arrest this year.

An insanity defense would mean acknowledging Hernandez committed the crime but arguing that he was too psychologically ill to know it was wrong. Attorney Harvey Fishbein says Hernandez will argue he made a false confession because of his mental problems.

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