Saturday, February 2, 2008

Nixzmary Brown's blood found all over apartment where she died: expert

On the stand, Taylor Dickerson tells prosecutor Linda Weinman (r.) that blood found at sites throughout apartment belonged to Nixzmary Brown.

Nixzmary Brown's blood was found all over the apartment where she was killed two years ago - even in the litter box she was forced to use, a DNA expert testified Tuesday.

Even more disturbing, the little girl's blood was found under stepdad Cesar Rodriguez's fingernails and on the jeans he was wearing when she died.

Rodriguez's lawyer claims he got bloodied trying to revive the 7-year-old after she was beaten to death by her mother, Nixzaliz Santiago. But prosecutors said the DNA should lead jurors to a different conclusion.

"This is all about how she lived," Assistant District Attorney Ama Dwimoh said outside Brooklyn Supreme Court. "She was tortured. She was abused."

After a week-long break from grim testimony, the jury deciding Rodriguez's fate was again visibly moved by physical evidence.

Prosecutors put red stickers on a schematic of the Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment to mark each bloodstain.

When they were done, there were a dozen red blotches - a crimson road map to the second-grader's suffering.

The blood was on the white twine used to tie Nixzmary to a chair, and on a length of duct tape in the bathroom trash pail.

It was on the wall, a pink towel, a yellow Donald Duck pillow, a comforter and a girl's plastic blue belt.

Again and again, criminologist Taylor Dickerson, who works for the city medical examiner's office, confirmed the DNA was the victim's.

"That blood belonged to Nixzmary," he said when Assistant District Attorney Linda Weinman asked him about stains on the inside and outside of the litter box.

He also said Nixzmary's feces were in the litter box, prompting one juror to cover her mouth and another to put his head down.

Rodriguez's lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz wasn't rattled, saying outside court the DNA evidence only confirmed that Rodriguez told police the truth about tying up and beating his stepdaughter.

He seized on a piece of Dickerson's testimony as crucial to his case: that blood on Nixzmary's sweatpants was from an unidentified woman.

That's proof that the girl's mom, whose DNA was not tested, delivered the death blow, he claimed.

"She was the one who killed that child," he said. "That's her blood on Nixzmary's clothes."

The DNA testimony came after both sides ended their wrangling over a mystery witness in closed-door hearings.

Justice Priscilla Hall ruled the witness will testify, but in a closed courtroom for "safety" reasons.

Hall scolded prosecutors for not alerting the defense to the existence of the witness sooner, but she shot down Schwartz's motion for a mistrial.

It's believed the witness could be favorable to the defense, but it's unclear if the person is an undercover cop, a jailhouse snitch or some other informant.

Original Article-

Nixzmary Brown's blood found all over apartment where she died: expert

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