The accused killer of kidnapped Jewish boy Leiby Kletzky pleaded not guilty to murder during a brief appearance in a Brooklyn court Thursday.
Levi Aron, 35, was placed on suicide watch and sent for psychiatric examination after his lawyer told a judge that the suspect heard voices, a claim that may set the stage for an insanity defense.
He was held without bail, as other suspects reportedly cursed at him from a holding pen adjacent to the courtroom.
New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told a Thursday press conference that Aron had scratches on his arms and wrists, which he called evidence of a struggle.
Kelly added it is “reasonable to say” that the marks indicate Kletzky unsuccessfully tried to fight off Aron.
Police also found marks on the slain boy that suggest he was tied up, Kelly said.
In a handwritten confession, Aron told police he picked up Kletzky after the boy asked him for directions to a Judaica store Monday, NBC News reported.
Aron, whose 35th birthday was Wednesday, said he killed the boy after panicking over the massive search.
“When I saw the flyers I panicked and was afraid,” Aron wrote, NBC reported.
Police are taking some parts of the confession with a grain of salt, especially Aron’s bizarre claim that he took the boy to a wedding in upstate Monsey, N.Y., on Monday.
Leiby Kletzky, who would have turned 9 next week, had pleaded with his parents to allow him to walk home alone from summer camp. They agreed to meet him halfway, but he never showed up.
His body parts were found inside a blood-spattered refrigerator in Aron’s apartment and in a nearby trash bin about two miles away, police said.