Meet the defense attorney who makes the prosecutor who called gang rape of a ten-year-old “childish experimentation” look good. Warning: graphic descriptions of extreme child abuse follow after the jump:
Nixzmary Brown may have been only 7 years old when she died, battered and starved, in her family’s Brooklyn apartment two years ago. She may have weighed only 36 pounds — the same as a healthy child half her age.
Jeffrey T. Schwartz, a lawyer for the accused, Cesar Rodriguez, leaving court in Brooklyn.
But for all that, a lawyer for her stepfather told jurors on Wednesday at the opening of his murder trial, Nixzmary was a force of destruction who terrorized her five younger siblings. What’s more, he said, she refused to be disciplined, slipping the ropes that bound her to the chair in her room, just out of reach of the litter box she was forced to use as a toilet.
“She was a little Houdini,” said the lawyer, Jeffrey T. Schwartz.
Nixzmary needed to be corrected, Mr. Schwartz said, and on the last night of her life, after she helped herself to a forbidden container of yogurt, her stepfather, Cesar Rodriguez, administered a beating.
Mr. Rodriguez hit Nixzmary with his hands and with a belt, thrust her head under running cold water in the bathtub, and left her naked and shivering on the bare floor of her room, Mr. Schwartz said.
But the state would not prove that he had killed her, Mr. Schwartz said.
Nixzmary died, Mr. Schwartz said, only after Mr. Rodriguez left the room, and the girl’s mother, Nixzaliz Santiago — or, as he referred to her, “Mommy dearest” — took over.
So went Mr. Schwartz’s defense of the man who has been widely vilified since news of Nixzmary’s death shook the city in 2006.
It did not appear to sway a jury that included 10 women, most of them mothers. A couple of them scowled skeptically.
During the prosecutor’s opening statements, several jurors appeared to wipe away tears.
. . . what can you possibly fucking say to that? I can only hope that somehow the Times is engaging in extremely unethical reporting and severely misconstruing the attorney’s statements. But I haven’t got the slightest fucking clue what an acceptable context might look like.
The child refused to be “disciplined” when tied to a chair. “A little Houdini????” Is that supposed to be cute or something, you piece of shit? The child was being abused and tied to things, and because she managed to be resourceful enough to break free from her literal bondage, you call her Houdini? Yeah, I bet she hid a fucking key in her mouth, you utter asshat.
She was starved, tied up like a hostage (or a dog, it’s hard to tell), beaten, judging from her nudity during the deadly beating, quite likely sexually assaulted, and made to use a litter box as her restroom. I bet she was a fucking terror — what child, what person could exist in those conditions and stay sane? Either you withdraw completely, or you lash out violently. This child — a seven-year-old girl — ended up lashing out. And now her stepfather’s defense attorney is apparently using the girl’s “bad behavior” as a defense for beating her to death.
I don’t know if gender has anything to do with this. And this case would be just as tragic and horrific if the child was a boy. But I do know that the excuses being used here look awfully fucking familiar. She wouldn’t listen, so you had to hit her? She just made you so mad? If only she hadn’t done that inconsequential thing you forbid her from doing, you wouldn’t have had to beat her and “accidentally” kill her, and hey, just because you beat her all the time doesn’t mean that you were the one who beat her to death. Yeah, that sounds absolutely nothing like a domestic abuse case.
I feel sick. What horrifically poor excuses for human beings, both the stepfather and the lawyer.