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Man accused of killing Etan Patz scheduled to be arraigned

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Jose Antonio Ramos (AP Photo)

Jose Antonio Ramos (AP Photo)

NEW YORK (CNN) — The man accused of killing 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.

Last month, Pedro Hernandez’s attorney said his client had falsely confessed to the child’s murder and planned to plead not guilty at the hearing.

A grand jury indicted the New Jersey resident on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in a case that has gripped New York City and the nation for more than three decades.

Police said Hernandez confessed in May to killing Etan, who disappeared on his way to a New York school bus stop, after passing by the bodega where Hernandez once worked.

Hernandez — who was a stock clerk in Lower Manhattan in May of 1979 — admitted that he choked the boy after luring him into the basement of the grocery store, police said.

He allegedly told authorities that he threw away the boy’s body in a garbage bag, though the remains were never found.

Etan disappeared on May 25, roughly a month before Hernandez left New York to resume living at his mother’s South Jersey home, according to family members and police.

Defense attorney Harvey Fishbein has claimed Hernandez was repeatedly diagnosed with schizophrenia, and that he has “an IQ in the borderline-to-mild mental retardation range.”