Saturday, September 20, 2008

Jury views photo of Nixzmary's battered body

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8:03 PM EDT, September 19, 2008

A rapt jury stared intently Friday at a stark color photo depicting the partially clothed body of 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown lying on the floor of her family's Brooklyn apartment.

The image of the battered child, projected on a large screen, dominated the courtroom in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, where Nixzaliz Santiago is on trial in her daughter's January 2006 murder.

Police found Nixzmary dead of a brain injury at 571 Fort Greene Ave.

Her stepfather, Cesar Rodriguez, was convicted earlier this year of manslaughter for striking and killing her. Testimony from that trial showed that Rodriguez was angered by what he saw as his stepdaughter's misbehavior.

In the crime scene photograph, the thin, dark-haired Nixzmary, who was wearing maroon sweatpants, lies on the floor near a radiator, facing away from the camera. The child's left arm is extended, as if reaching for something, and her right arm is folded over her bare stomach.

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Nixzaliz Santiago, 30, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, manslaughter and reckless endangerment, wept as the evidence was presented, The Associated Press reported.

None of the 10 women and two men on the jury showed emotion.

Prosecutors Ama Dwimoh and Linda Weinman used the photograph during the testimony of city police Sgt. Erick Nolan, the first witness in the case.

Nolan, who said he was the first officer on the scene around 4:33 a.m. on Jan. 11, 2006, recalled seeing Santiago in the apartment, but not by her daughter's body.

He also said he couldn't remember if Santiago cried or showed emotion. But under cross-examination by defense attorney Sammy Sanchez, Nolan said that he likely told a crime scene detective that Santiago became "frantic" and cried out, "My child, my child, my child."

That testimony was important because it showed Nixzmary's death was unexpected and countered prosecution claims that Santiago didn't care about her daughter, said co-defense counsel Kathleen M. Mullin.The trial resumes Monday before Justice Patricia DiMango when more New York City police officers are to testify.

Nixzmary Brown, death, Nixzaliz Santiago, Cesar Rodriguez, killed, convicted, trial, Brooklyn, Supreme Court --

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