Levi Aron, the former hardware store clerk who pleaded guilty earlier this month to kidnapping and killing eight-year-old Leiby Kletzky last July, was sentenced today in Brooklyn court to a sentence of 40 years to life in prison.
The sentence was in keeping with a plea deal Aron’s lawyers had worked out with prosecutors earlier this month. Under the terms of the deal, Aron, 36, avoids more severe charges and leaves open the possibility, however unlikely, that he could some day be paroled.
Asked today if he wanted to say anything before sentencing, Aron, who was monosyllabic and all but inaudible at his plea hearing earlier this month, simply shook his head.
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who has acted as a spokesman and representative for the Kletzky family since the first days of his disappearance, said the family agreed to the terms of the plea in order to avoid a painful trial.
Leiby’s parents did not attend Aron’s plea hearing or today’s sentencing, but a statement by Leiby’s father Nachman Kletzky was read aloud at today’s sentencing hearing.
“We want to thank D.A. Hynes and his team for bringing this to a quick resolution, as we requested — for not forcing us to relive the terror that began when Leiby went missing,” Kletzky’s letter reads in part, concluding:
“We are thankful to the many who shared our pain. We heard from people from across the world and from all walks of life, and we took comfort from your sincere care and support.
Most of all, we are grateful to G-d for giving us Leiby and our other children.
We want to stress this one point because it is so vital that everyone understands: G-d did not abandon our son nor our family for even one second. He was with Leiby; He is with us. This is what we believe with all our hearts.
May G-d bring the final Redemption soon, when all suffering will be removed from mankind and we will be reunited with Leiby and with all our loved ones.”
Aron’s lawyers had initially considered an insanity defense, but ultimately accepted the plea when psychiatric evaluations suggested that while Aron’s mental state “isn’t the same as yours or mine,” he was still able to understand the consequences of his actions.