Levi Aron, who is charged with the murder of 8-year-old Brooklyn boy Leiby Kletzky, has marks on his hands and arms that indicate the boy may have struggled for his life, investigators said.
"There's some indication of scratches on Aron's arms and wrists," New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement. The child struggled for his life before he was apparently suffocated to death.
Police alleged that Aron, 35, murdered and dismembered Kletzky earlier this week. Amidst boos and heckling, Aron entered a not guilty plea at Brooklyn Criminal Court in the murder on Thursday.
Aron's attorney, Pierre Bazile, asked for a psychiatric exam for his client, saying, "I have some serious concerns about the defendant's mental state," adding that Aron said he was hearing voices.
Aron looked down and was stony-faced and silent during the proceeding. The attorney asked for his client to be placed on suicide watch, saying, "I'm very concerned for his well-being."
Earlier, when police took Aron out of the precinct house, he ducked as an angry crowd screamed, "Murderer!"
Kletzky was abducted on his way home from camp on Monday at approximately 5:30 p.m. Surveillance video shows the boy and Aron together.
Leiby was reported missing Monday when he did not meet his mother at a pre-arranged location seven blocks from his camp. Police say the boy and the mother had gone to the location Friday and she had showed him the route he was to take.
Police say Leiby missed the turn he was to take to meet his mother. He was lost and asked a stranger, Aron, for directions, police said.
According to Kelly, the medical examiner has not yet established a time of death or definitive cause of death, but that tentatively "it's a result of suffocation."
There is no indication so far of molestation, Kelly said. There appears to be a ligature mark on the boy's body, suggesting he was tied up.
In his confession Aron allegedly said he suffocated Kletzky with a towel and then cut up his body. Kelly indicated that police believe the confession is largely true. "He has been reasonably forthcoming. The bulk of what he's said is believed to be correct," he said.
In the confession, Aron talks about finding the boy on the street and asking him if he wanted to come to a wedding and taking him for a ride, Kelly said. He said the child was in the abductor's custody by 5:40 p.m. on Monday.
Kelly confirmed that Aron went to a wedding in Monsey, an Orthodox community in Rockland County, north of New York City, on Monday night.
"We believe he did go to the wedding in Monsey. We cannot say definitively if the boy was with him," Kelly said.
Sources close to the investigation say the probers are "skeptical" of the alleged killer's account of traveling with the child in tow. Police are hoping that a camera might provide more clues as to where Kletzky was at the time.
"I have surveillance but they took whatever they had to take and I can't go into more specifics," the wedding hall manager said.
After the wedding Aron told police that "it was late and he took him to his apartment and the boy fell asleep," Kelly said. Aron also claimed they watched television for a while and then slept in different rooms.
Aron, who is divorced, lives alone in an attic in a building shared with his father and uncle. At 4:30 a.m. the next morning, Aron went to work at a plumbing store with a new appearance.
"He had a longer beard. He stated he cleaned up or trimmed his beard for his work on Tuesday. He looked different than he did on Monday," Kelly said.
Meanwhile, the entire community of Borough Park was searching for the missing boy. In his chilling confession letter, Aron indicated what allegedly drove his to commit the murder.
"When I saw the flyers I panicked. When I got home he was still there, so I made him a tuna sandwich. I was still in a panic. That is when I went for a towel to smother him."
By 2:30 on Wednesday morning, Aron was arrested and the boy's body was found. Amidst a mob, Aron was taken for DNA testing in attempts to link him to any other missing person cases.
Commissioner Kelly echoed the feelings of many across the community and country that are shocked by the young boy's death.
"There's usually some sort of irrational twisted logic that's given to why a violent event took place. Here it defies all logic and I think that's what's really so terribly disturbing about this case," Kelly said.
The final words in his confession letter indicate that Aron may not fully comprehend the magnitude of the crime he has confessed to.
"I understand this may be wrong, and I'm sorry for the hurt that I have caused," the letter read.