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New York man pleads guilty to murder of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:16 PM EDT, Thu August 9, 2012
 Leiby Kletzky disappeared after walking back from summer camp in July 2011. His body was later found in a freezer.
Leiby Kletzky disappeared after walking back from summer camp in July 2011. His body was later found in a freezer.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Levi Aron pleads guilty to second degree murder and kidnapping in the second degree
  • His attorney declined to comment, and would also not confirm how her client will plead
  • The city's chief medical examiner said the boy died after being drugged and then smothered

New York (CNN) -- A New York hardware clerk pleaded guilty Thursday to second degree murder and kidnapping in the second degree, after abducting, smothering and dismembering an 8-year-old Brooklyn boy in the Hasidic Jewish enclave of Borough Park.

Judge Neil Firetog said Levi Aron accepted a plea deal and will spend 40 years to life behind bars for the two counts, after the official sentencing on August 29, for the killing of Leiby Kletzky last summer.

Aron's attorney, Jennifer L. McCann, said she was "glad we were able to come up with an amenable resolution that both sides agreed to."

"I know this has been a very difficult case for all of Brooklyn, and I appreciate the patience," she said. "In these kinds of cases, people have rights. And we had to make sure to do our do diligence in resolving the case."

Police say Leiby's dismembered body was found in Aron's freezer and inside a suitcase in a nearby trash bin.

New York City's chief medical examiner said the Brooklyn boy died last summer after being drugged and then smothered.

The autopsy results for Leiby listed a cocktail of four prescription and over-the-counter drugs in the boy's system: cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxant; quetiapine, an antipsychotic drug; hydrocodone, a pain medication; and acetaminophen, the drug found in Tylenol.

Both Aron and Leiby were members of the borough's close-knit Orthodox Jewish community, although police say it doesn't appear that they knew each other.

Kletzky's family released a statement through New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind's office, saying they have "finally received some partial closure on one aspect of this nightmare."

"There is no way one can comprehend or understand the pain of losing a child," said Nachman and Esther Kletzky in the statement. "Closure does not mean we don't continue to feel the pain. A day doesn't pass without our thinking of Leiby -- but today we close the door on this one aspect of our tragedy and seek to remember only the gifts that G-d has bestowed."

Child's grisly murder shocks Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood

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