Killer Levi Aron apparently went to a relative’s wedding at Ateres Charna Hall outside of New Square catering hall the same day he killed 8-year-old Leiby, police have confirmed.
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that police believe Aron did go to the wedding Monday night but he did not take the boy, whose dismembered body was found two days later. Other guests at the wedding confirmed Aron was there, but didn’t see the boy, the commissioner added.
Detectives seized video surveillance from a New Square catering hall, where the wedding took place. New York City detectives stopped by Ateres Charna wedding hall in New Square Wednesday and downloaded footage from Monday night’s wedding, said the hall’s manager, Izzy Goldstein.
“The police were here yesterday,” Goldstein told The Journal News today. “They said he (Aron) said he was here. But I did not see him and I did not want to see him. It’s very gruesome.”
He said 400 to 600 people, including many children, attended the wedding. The kallah was from Far Rockaway, Queens, and the groom from Rockland. He has no idea whether Aron and the boy attended.
“I wouldn’t know who he is,” Goldstein said. “I hope he was not here. An evil person like him, it’s unbelievable what he did. I didn’t sleep all night.”
He said he wouldn’t contact the newlyweds.
“This would ruin their simcha – happy time – if they knew someone like him might have been there,” he said.
Aron is related to the kallah, said Nathan Meisner, of L’Chaim Catering in Monsey, which handled the wedding.
“I know the chosson personally,” he said. “The piece of venom (Aron) was related to the other side, not the chosson’s side.”
In what WNBC says is his statement to police, Aron says of Leiby: “I asked if he wanted to go for the ride – wedding in Monsey – since I didn’t think I was going to stay for the whole thing since my back was hurting. He said ok. Due to traffic, I got back around 11:30 p.m. … so I brought him to my house thinking I’d bring him to his house the next day.”
Aron told police he panicked when he saw the fliers for the missing boy and smothered him with a towel.
Investigators believe Leiby may have been tied up and tried to fight off his alleged captor before he was killed, police officials said today.
At a news conference, Kelly said Aron had scratches on his arms and wrists – a sign “there was some kind of struggle.” There also were marks on the victim’s remains that could have been caused by restraints, the commissioner added.
A preliminary medical examination indicates Leiby was “smothered or suffocated,” Kelly said.
Aron appeared in court today and was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after his lawyer told a judge that his client might be mentally ill.
“He has indicated to me that he hears voices and has had some hallucinations,” attorney Pierre Bazile said.