Sunday, February 17, 2008

The defense for the man on trial for murdering his 7-year-old stepdaughter Nixzmary Brown opened its case by presenting a DNA expert. The Daily News says Dr. Lawrence Koblinsky, who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, "attacked the investigation but seemed to bore jurors."

Cesar Rodriguez, accused of killing the little girl in January of 2006, has admitted to savagely beating Nixzmary, tying her to a chair, and more, but his defense has claimed the girl's final fatal blow was caused by her mother, Nixzaliz Santiago. (Santiago will face a separate murder trial.) Koblinsky pointed out that there was some unidentified genetic material on the child's sweatpants, and the defense suggested it could have been from Santiago, whose DNA wasn't collected (Rodriguez's was).

However, prosecutors got Koblinsky to agree that the genetic material on the sweatpants was too small for a profile. And the prosecution pointed out the blood splattered all over the apartment - on its walls, floor, and a litter box Nixzmary was forced to use as a toilet - was from the child.

Prosecutor Ama Dwimoh told reporters afterwards, "Nixzmary died a slow death. And the people she called Mommy and Daddy failed to get her prompt medical attention.” Rodriguez's attorney Jeffrey Schwartz, though, felt Koblinsky's testimony "at the very least, raises doubt as to the thoroughness and the effectiveness of the investigation." Schwartz had hoped Santiago would be able to testify. However, during a hearing without the jury present, the judge determined Santiago did not have to testify because she kept invoking the fifth amendment.

Original Article-

Gothamist: Defense Opens in Nixzmary Brown Murder Trial

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