For readers: What do you make of his statements?
Do they reveal genuine doubt of guilt? Or, did this juror have a motive? Did he go into the trial with a preconceived conclusion? Is he, as claimed, a contrarian? Is he seeking fame from this?
Did he simply doubt the suspect who confessed did it?
The interview was 45 minutes. We have only a portion of his statement and do not know the questions. I have added underlining on key words.
I will post my conclusions in the comments section...
What do you think?
Will other jurors agree with his characterization of the deliberations?
Why I said not guilty: Etan Patz jury’s lone holdout speaks
A Manhattan jury deadlocked on Friday after 100 hours deliberatingthe fate of Pedro Hernandez, a mentally ill New Jersey man who had repeatedly confessed to murdering 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979.
The lone, pro-acquittal holdout, Adam Sirois, 42, spoke to The Post on Saturday in a 45-minute interview at his Stuyvesant Town apartment — about the evidence, deliberations and his struggle to stick to what he believes to be the truth.
I knew that I would start from the presumption of innocence. I knew that because we are told we should start from that presumption.
There were certainly plenty of times I think we all had during the trial — moments, just “wow” moments.
Like, “Oh, my God, that throws a lot of doubt in it!” Or, “Oh, my God, he did it!” For me, there were moments — different days, different periods of time — when I could have gone either way.
That’s the whole point. Then you go into deliberations.
There were a few:
It was chilling, confessions. They are quite hard to watch. If you only saw that, and you had nothing else to consider, yes it would be hard to find him not guilty.
But we’re told we are not supposed to judge a person only on his own words.
A confession is important evidence, but it’s not the only evidence. You need to corroborate it with other evidence in the case.
A flyer distributed by the New York Police Department of Etan Patz.Photo: AP/Stanley Patz
Something that was more chilling for me was the Ramos interview when Ramos was trying to abduct a few kids in the tunnel where he lived. It’s chilling.
Adam SiroisPhoto: John Roca
We watched every video multiple times in the deliberation room. You really hear him start to describe Etan Patz. For me, it was hard to get over that. For me, Ramos is a serious factor that needs to be considered.
Pedro HernandezPhoto: AP
For me, the whole case kind of hinges on mental health, which factors into what I think are the false confessions — or at least the likelihood of false confessions being made by him.
José RamosPhoto: AP
We heard testimony from both the defense expert witnesses — mental-health expert witnesses — and the prosecution witnesses.
First of all, false confessions do exist . That’s one thing we had to consider.
The second factor was both mental-health witnesses for the defense and the prosecution [described] a series of factors that would make someone vulnerable to say a false confession.
It’s very difficult, for me, I’m not a mental-health expert . . . but actually I was asked by the jury, because of my public-health background , to kind of explain the mental-health issue to everyone.
I tried to do as best I could. I was often at the white board trying to explain how this could have happened. How this person could have broken down confessed, in terms of that initial day.
That first day was really important — when he was taken to the CCPO in Camden.
I tried to explain my thinking, my rationale to why I think mental health is such a big part in this case.
Everyone admitted he did have mental-health issues. We finally got there. It took a little while, but we finally got to the point where everyone admitted he did have mental-health issues. Some were less on the spectrum and some were more, but we agreed.
It really — you’d have to believe that the mental-health issues are strong enough to allow someone like Pedro to make this false confession, and I really felt that’s what happened with Mr. Hernandez.
There were days where I was definitely thinking, “I could vote guilty on this.”
But I have to say — several jurors came in with an opposite approach, and came in thinking he was guilty right off the bat, although they don’t want to say that sometimes. But it was evident the way they were speaking.
I knew if I started saying off the bat that I might think he’s guilty, too, it could have been over in a few days. I wasn’t going to let that happen. I wanted to force people to think — myself included.
People thanked me. Almost everyone thanked me, for not forcing them, but getting them to think a little differently about the case. A little bit differently about different facts, about what story could have happened, talking about other hypotheses.
I introduced some very reasonable hypotheses. I also put in some stories like, “What if this could have happened?”
Anything that happened to Etan Patz — whether it was Pedro Hernandez, if it was José Ramos, if it was another party we never knew about, whatever happened to Etan Patz that morning — is awful, but it’s also implausible. It’s incredible.
‘For me, there were moments — different days, different periods of time — when I could have gone either way.’- Adam Sirois
Whatever happened is so terrible, so hard to understand what it could have been. Whether it’s Pedro or José or somebody else.
There were a few days there where people were definitely on my side because of the Ramos story. It was very, very challenging for a good number of the jurors.
The vast majority of time it was very calm.
There were times when certain statements were made by some of the jurors. Some spoke a lot more than others, including myself. I spoke a lot.
There were some times when there were heated debates. They were not personal.
There were times when I would ask, “How can you think that?” And they would ask me, “How can you think that?”
And you have to argue.
An example? One thing that sticks out for me that we did argue a lot about was the bag.
‘I didn’t feel the evidence was solid enough to vote guilty.’- Adam Sirois
What happened to this bag? Would the police, would a detective like Butler, who unfortunately passed away, [fail to find the bag]? We have evidence that shows at 7:30 in the morning they started the search in the core area.
And I don’t know why, but my fellow jurors — some of them — could not accept that the police did check in the bodega basement.
They were emphatic that we don’t have evidence to that — and we don’t. The search documents did not say specifically that they did search the bodega.
This is where you have to make sort of an inference from the evidence. To me, couldn’t be convinced that they wouldn’t have found the bag because the police didn’t search the basement where Etan was headed that morning to buy a soda with a dollar.
A lot of the things you have to believe for Pedro to be guilty just don’t add up. It doesn’t add up that they wouldn’t have found that bag. It doesn’t fit with the story.
That got heated sometimes. You almost have to want him to be guilty, in my opinion, to say the police could not have searched the bodega basement, it’s right at the bus stop where he was headed.
We have testimony from multiple police officers at the time that they looked in every nook and cranny where a body could fit.
I can’t believe the police would not have looked behind there and seen the bag.
In the end, they did get over that possibility of Ramos, to enough of a degree that it’s Pedro beyond a reasonable doubt... there was definitely a lot of doubt in that room for a long time.
It was obvious early on that some people were never going to change their vote. I wasn’t one of those. Although I’m sure some of my fellow jurors would say I was, but I wasn’t.
I didn’t ever change my vote — that’s true. I’m not absolutely sure that it’s not Pedro Hernandez. But that’s my how our legal system works.
I’m not sure that was clear to some of the jurors. It has to go beyond a reasonable doubt.
Either their threshold for a reasonable doubt is lower than mine, or they didn’t exactly get that point.
I don’t mean all of them, but I think there were one or two who I don’t think understood some of the charges we got from the judge.
It was 8-4, 6-6, although some jurors might not say it was 6-6, it was more like five unsures, unsure we decided was not guilty, plus me. It was 6-6 in my opinion. Then it went to 9-3, then 10-2, 10-2, 11-1.
It was 10-2 the day before Friday.
Doug was with me. And he was arguing, and very eloquently arguing the points I had been making previously. At that point I was exhausted.
He was there for a while. We voted on Tuesday and hung the jury at 10-2. Doug, at that point, was ready to be in my situation basically.
So I thought going in Friday morning it was still going to be 10-2.
That morning Doug went into a really nice sort of speech about what he went through to get to where he was going to get, then he dropped the news that he was going to vote guilty.
I was surprised. It did rock me for a minute. I was shocked by it even. But I couldn’t change my mind just because Doug changed his.
I didn’t feel the evidence was solid enough to vote guilty.
I feel bad for loss of Etan, of course. I have no regrets of my decision on the case. They are two separate things.
It’s a horrible loss of Etan for the family but it would be a travesty also if I didn’t go with my conscience on this.