Over two years ago, Marva Braithwaite returned to her Crown Heights home to discover her 16-year-old daughter stabbed to death. Police arrested Braithwaite's 15-year-old niece Tiana Browne for the murder after she was found in possession of the victim's clothing, sneakers, MP3 player, cellphone and camera. But at the trial yesterday, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Albert Tomei called a mistrial after it was discovered that Braithwaite, who testified against Brown, had been convicted of felonious assault in a 1995 stabbing.
The Post reports that even though Browne confessed to stabbing cousin Shannon Braithwaite dozens of times, Tomei felt the "[conviction’s omission] did affect defense counsel’s ability to incorporate this evidence in his summation. More importantly, the district attorney, in his summation, refereneced the testimony of Ms. Braithwaite regarding the defendant’s mental state. The court reluctantly, but is nevertheless compelled to, grant the motion for a mistrial.” The prosecutor said that rap sheets were not required for witnesses, but Tomei characterized the issue as a "statutory and Constitutional error."
Braithwaite told reporters, “Delayed but not denied - justice will be served for my daughter. 1995? I had a fight. That was my past... My daughter was stabbed 49 times by that monster in there. That monster should never have been born.” Browne's lawyer maintains that his client needs psychiatric help.