An exclamation -- "Jesus!" -- that seemed to come directly from the jury box of a Brooklyn courtroom Friday underscored the shock as jurors saw for the first time the graphic crime scene photos of little Nixzmary Brown's bloody, battered and bruised body.
Some jurors teared up and covered their mouths in shock as Assistant District Attorney Ama Dwimoh showed the color photographs on a large screen during the murder trial of Cesar Rodriguez, 29, the seven-year-old girl's stepfather.
Court spectators and jurors alike sat in rapt silence as Dwimoh presented the photographs so Det. Steven Sneider of the 79th Precinct could better describe what he saw when he found Nixzmary dead on the floor of her family's Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment on Jan. 11, 2006.
In one photo Nixzmary is seen lying on her back, partly clothed in red sweat pants, her left arm extended as if reaching for something and her right forearm lying across her chest. Another image -- the one that elicited the exclamation -- showed the bruised and scratched buttocks of the child with a spot of what appeared to be fresh blood.
During questioning by Dwimoh, Sneider told the jury how doctors from the medical examiner's staff turned Nixzmary's body so he could she the massive bruises on her back, neck and face.
"She was extremely thin, you could see bones through the skin," said Sneider.
Outside the courtroom, defense attorney Jeffrey Schwartz acknowledged that the photographs of Nixzmary were shocking. But the attorney said he is ready to show next week that it was Nixzaliz Santiago, the child's mother, who killed her.
"The mother admits that she killed the child and you will see that," said Schwartz.
Without naming a source or witness, Schwartz said that Santiago admitted smashing her daughter's head into the bathtub until she was lifeless. Santiago is scheduled to go to trial in the spring.
Sneider said he built rapport with Rodriguez at the 79th Precinct and began questioning him, finally reading him his Miranda rights about a half-hour into what he called their "conversation." Sneider took an oral statement from Rodriguez and allowed him to write his own statement.
"I blindly disciplined my stepdaughter. With no intention of causing her harm," Rodriguez wrote. "We feel very sorry that passed away."
Referring to Nixzmary as a "beautiful girl and very smart," Rodriguez also said she was "a little devil" who abused her siblings and wildly misbehaved.
The world is going to see who "the devil and who the angel really was, and who Cesar Rodriguez really was," said Dwimoh outside the courtroom.
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Original Article -
Photos of Nixzmary Brown's bruises shock jurors -- Newsday.com