By Barbara Goldberg
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Brooklyn man was expected to plead guilty next week to butchering an 8-year-old boy who got lost while walking home alone from an Orthodox Jewish day camp, a source close to the case said on Wednesday.
The tentative plea deal calls for Levi Aron, 36, to be sentenced to 40 years to life in prison when he appears in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn on August 9, the source said. Terms of the deal could change before then, the source said.
Aron was charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping, and had faced life in prison without the possibility of parole if he was convicted at trial.
He was accused of kidnapping, suffocating and dismembering Leiby Kletzky, whose body parts were found in a freezer in Aron's apartment in July 2011. Other parts of the boy's body were found in a suitcase in a dumpster several blocks away.
Aron lived in the same Orthodox community as Kletzky, who went missing the first time he was allowed to walk home alone from the religious camp. He met Aron on the street and sought help from him after getting lost.
A massive search by police and community members led to Aron's apartment, where authorities made the gruesome find.
Aron signed a confession but his lawyers later said it was coerced by police and he would plead insanity. A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation ruled that Aron was fit to stand trial.
Authorities said Aron admitted he killed the boy after panicking when he saw Kletzky's image on missing child posters plastered throughout the neighborhood.
Aron's attorney, Jennifer McCann, was not immediately available for comment.
A spokesman for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes declined to comment on the case.
(Editing by Paul Thomasch and Todd Eastham)