Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
The man accused of abducting and brutally killing an 8-year-old boy in Borough Park, Brooklyn, this week was "creepy" and kept to himself, according to co-workers and neighbors.
Levi Aron, 35, was arraigned on charges of murder and kidnapping in the first degree in Brooklyn on Thursday. His lawyers said Aron — who stared at the floor during the proceedings — had hallucinations and heard voices.
The former deli security guard did not have any prior charges in New York, other than a citation for public urination. Police are investigating in Tennessee, where Aron lived for two years.
Sam Lowy, who worked with Aron for eight years at Empire State Supply in Brooklyn, said the shelf-stocker was "emotionless" and when news that the boy was missing emerged, everyone in the store pitched in to help find him. He couldn’t confirm whether Aron joined in the search.
"He fits the creepy type," Lowy said.
Aron lived on the third floor of a building he shared with his parents on a leafy street in Borough Park, Brooklyn. All day Thursday, NYPD officers in safety suits removed evidence from the house.
"He was quiet, I never saw him smiling or anything," said neighbor Gidaliy Kuasha, 28. "He looked like a regular person, just another guy."
Aron told police, in a confession first obtained by NBCNewYork.com, confirmed by NYPD spokesman Paul Browne, that 8-year-old Lieby Kletzky approached him and asked where the Jewish book store was. They boy then proceeded to wait for Aron while he visited his dentist.
Aron then allegedly brought the boy home and said he fell asleep watching TV. Aron said when he saw flyers in the neighborhood indicating the boy was missing he panicked and smothered the boy with a towel. He later dismembered the boy's body.
Police say they’re not sure what time this occurred, but the scratch marks on the accused killer suggests the boy fought back.
In court Thursday, Aron pleaded not guilty and he was jeered by other inmates.
He was remanded in custody and the judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation.
If convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
With reporting by Mirela Iverac, Ailsa Chang and Stephen Nessen
Street in Kensington, Brooklyn where Levi Aron lives. (Kathleen Horan/WNYC)