Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jury Finds Nixzmary's Stepfather Guilty Of Manslaughter

Jury Finds Nixzmary's Stepfather Guilty Of ManslaughterA jury has convicted the stepfather of 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown of manslaughter in a case that led to a shakeup in New York City's child welfare agency.

By WNBC Reporter Tim Minton

NEW YORK -- A jury on Tuesday found Nixzmary Brown's stepfather guilty of first-degree manslaughter and unlawful imprisonment in a case that led to a shakeup in New York City's child welfare agency.

The jury also found Cesar Rodriguez guilty of the lesser charges of criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a minor. He was found not guilty of murder, the top count. Rodriguez faces a maximum of 28 years in prison.

Jurors had deliberated for more than 17 hours over four days after hearing nine weeks of testimony.

Nixzmary was 7 years old when she was found dead, battered, bruised and underweight in her Bedford-Stuyvesant home Jan. 11, 2006.

Both adults in the home at the time, Nixzmary's stepfather and mother, were charged with murder. Mother Nixzaliz Santiago will be tried later.

The case came down largely to a battle of medical experts. A deputy chief medical examiner called by prosecutors said Nixzmary died from "child abuse syndrome," described as a pattern of neglect over a period of months.

A former chief Suffolk County medical examiner called by the defense told jurors that the "mechanism of death" was a single blow or series of blows at one time. Defense attorneys argued that the analysis is accurate, and that it was the mother who delivered the fatal strike and was the only killer.

The defense also called as a witness a jailhouse informer who'd befriended Nixzaliz behind bars on Rikers Island. The informer testified that Nixzmary's mother admitted "beating the girl with her husband," adding "after he walked away" that she kept "beating until Nixzmary was lifeless."

But the informer also provided a motive for the killing, seemingly unhelpful to the defendant. She testified that Santiago had become enraged after catching her husband and Nixzmary "having oral sex."

The trial began with opening statements Jan. 16. The 10-woman, two-man jury heard 23 witnesses and did not hear from the defendant on the witness stand.

But Nixzmary's stepfather was heard on a DVD in which, while interrogated by police and a prosecutor, he admitted to beating and sometimes restraining the little girl by tying her to a chair. The DVD was played three times.

Original Article -

Jury Finds Nixzmary's Stepfather Guilty Of Manslaughter - News Story - WNBC New York

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Stepdad guilty in Nixzmary Brown killing -- Newsday.com

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