BROOKLYN, NY (PIX 11)—The man charged with killing eight year-old Leiby Kletzky is on suicide watch in Bellevue Hospital's incarceration unit while a grand jury weighs an indictment against him and a police investigation continues for a third day at Levi Aron's home.
Prosecutors have asked grand jurors for the "maximum charges permitted" against Aron, 35, for the kidnapping, killing and dismemberment of the boy whose fate was sealed after he got lost on Monday and asked Aron for directions. An indictment could come as early as Friday.
Meanwhile, Aron's lawyer entered a plea of not guilty on murder and kidnapping charges for his client in Brooklyn Criminal Court Thursday. Aron appeared there after being taken from the NYPD's 67th Precinct in Flatbush, where he'd been held pending his arraignment.
As detectives rushed him into a waiting, unmarked police cruiser, neighborhood residents who'd passed by yelled at him. "Murderer! Murderer!" they shouted into the rolled up windows of the car as it inched along the street in traffic and Aron crouched down and hid his face in the back seat.
An equally hostile but arguably more surprising scene met the alleged child killer when he got to court. Inmates who were also awaiting arraignment shouted obscenities at Aron from their holding cells and refused to stand near him as court officers prepared them to go before the bench.
Once Levi Aron finally got there, his attorney, Pierre Bazile, told judge William Miller that his client has been hearing voices and hallucinating. Judge Miller ordered Aron's psychological evaluation and denied him bail.
Meanwhile, more details continue to emerge about Levi Aron's confession to investigators. He told them he picked up Leiby Kletzky in his car early Monday evening after the boy asked him for directions. Kletzky had been trying to walk home alone from day camp for the first time and got lost.
Aron said he drove the child to a wedding upstate in Monsey. Cellphone records confirm that Aron was there, but none of the 600 guests recall seeing the boy. Aron said he had left Leiby Kletzky in his car with the windows down during the ceremony.
Aron said he then took the boy back to his third-floor attic apartment Monday night, and the boy slept there in a separate room. Leiby remained at the apartment at 466 East 2nd St. during the day Tuesday while Levi Aron went to work. The lure of staying, according to Aron's statements to police, was television. Aron had one. Leiby's family did not permit one in their house, so the boy was interested in watching all day Tuesday, according to the alleged killer in statements to police.
When Aron came back home from work at a hardware supply store late Tuesday afternoon, he said he had panicked over seeing the hundreds of missing person posters and platoons of volunteer searchers on the streets of his neighborhood looking for the boy.
In his panic, Levi Aron told investigators, he suffocated Leiby Kletzky with a towel after feeding him a tuna sandwich. Scratch marks and bruises on Aron's wrists and arms show that the four foot tall, 50 pound boy fought hard, but lost.
Aron stripped off Leiby Kletzky's clothes to more easily chop up the boy's body, according to cops, who say there is no sign of a sexual attack. Then, the man who had worked in the past as a butcher, cut up the boy's frame and methodically wrapped different parts of it in plastic bags for disposal early Wednesday morning. That's when a series of tips and sharp detective work led to Aron's arrest in his apartment.
Friday morning, crime scene investigators were still there. They had dug up the backyard behind Aron's home, as part of a larger investigation to see if the man many described as a loner had committed crimes against children before. So far, there is no additional evidence, but the investigation is ongoing.
It's a situation that has even disturbed the police commissioner, who has seen no shortage of gruesome crimes in his decades in law enforcement.
"It defies all logic and I think that's what's been so terribly disturbing about this case," Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a newsconference on Thursday. "There's absolutely no reason. There's nothing more innocent than an eight year-old child, and to be killed in this matter is just heartbreaking."