January 31, 2008 -- While bruised and battered Nixzmary Brown sat at home alone, her family was out enjoying a fun-filled shopping trip for toys, prosecutors said yesterday after screening a store surveillance video.
Just 32 hours before the 7-year-old's lifeless body was found in her family's apartment, her mother, stepfather, and five brothers and sisters were at Target, picking up Power Ranger toys and sweets.
"Her whole entire family was shopping at Target," said chief prosecutor Ama Dwimoh at the murder trial of Cesar Rodriguez, Brown's stepfather, in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
"Nixzmary was not there. Where was Nixzmary? When you see the pictures of Nixzmary Brown when she was found at her home, and after the autopsy, it was clear that they couldn't take her out."
The tape showed Rodriguez paying cash at the Target in Downtown Brooklyn's Atlantic Center Mall for Power Ranger action figures, Hot Wheels cars, Play Doh, Bratz dolls and Jell-O shortly before 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9, 2006.
Rodriguez is then seen leading the family and pushing his youngest son, Cesar Gabrielle, in a stroller.
His wife, Nixzaliz Santiago, and all the children, with the exception of Nixzmary, can all be seen, police say.
It remained unclear exactly why Nixzmary was on her own after dark on a Monday night. Prosecutors have alleged that the girl was regularly beaten, deprived of food and tied to a chair in a spare room in the family's Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment.
Defense lawyer Jeff Schwartz brushed aside the tape.
"There's no evidence of where Nixzmary is," he said. "And they have no evidence to prove anything."
In cross-examining Detective Sean McTighe, who obtained the surveillance video from Target, Schwartz questioned the detective's ability to identify the children, who during much of the tape were not facing the camera.