Thursday, December 22, 2011
A lawyer for the Borough Park man accused of butchering little Leiby Kletzky sparked a firestorm yesterday by blaming the accused killer's crime on "inbreeding" in the close-knit Hasidic community.
"Look, everybody knows when blood relations have offspring, there can be genetic defects. It's something that needs to be investigated down to the ground," said Howard Greenberg, the lawyer for suspect Levi Aron.
"He suffered a severe head injury as a young man. There's a history of schizophrenia. There's inbreeding in that community," Greenberg said.
"That's an aspect of his familial history," he added, declining to elaborate or offer any evidence.
Aron, 35, is accused of kidnapping 8-year-old Leiby off a Borough Park street in July, then killing and dismembering him.
Aron's parents, Jack and Basya Aron, declined comment, shouting, "Please leave!" to a reporter who sought to ask them about Greenberg's insinuation.
The lawyer's remark prompted an angry reaction in the Orthodox community.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind lashed out at the lawyer's claims, branding Greenberg as "sick" and "pathetic."
"This lawyer is simply out of his freaking mind," Hikind fumed. "He's a sick, self-hating Jew who's making a mockery of this case. It's insulting and degrading to our entire community."
"He's a perfect match for Levi Aron," Hikind said.
But Rabbi Bernard Freilich, a community leader in Borough Park and other Orthodox neighborhoods, acknowledged it's not uncommon for cousins to marry, but said that doesn't make their children murderous psychopaths.
"There are thousands of [married] people in the community who are related and there's no problem. It's preposterous to say that because there's a possibility of his parents being related, [Aron] would be crazy," Freilich said.
"Aren't there other children in [Aron's] household? Are they nuts?" Aron has two brothers, Rocky and Joe.
Aron did not appear in person for his latest date in Brooklyn Criminal Court, but instead appeared on a television screen, slumped over and alone at a table at Rikers Island.
The lawyer repeated outside that he will pursue an insanity defense, even though Aron has been found fit to stand trial.
The flamboyant attorney previously vowed to quit the practice of criminal law if Aron isn't found to be insane.
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