Jurors were warned by prosecutors that the trial would be "emotional" as jury selection began in for a second trial related to 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown's death. This time, the child's mother Nixzaliz Santiago faces murder charges.
Nixzmary was killed in January 2006, after being beaten by her stepfather Cesar Rodriguez for apparently taking some yogurt (or pudding) without permission. She spent her final hours beaten and having her head hit against the bathtub faucet and held under water, after a life where she was repeatedly beaten, tied to a chair, starved, and made to use a litter box. Rodriguez was convicted of manslaughter, and now the Brooklyn DA's office will say that Santiago's lack of action stopping Rodriguez contributed to her daughter's death.
Prosecutor Ama Dwimoh referred to the brutal life and death of Nixzmary, telling the pool, "It's sad, it's emotional, it's terrible," and potential jurors gasped when the charges were read. The NY Times noticed that some gasped when prosecutors pointed out that Santiago was Nixzmary's "natural mother." During Rodriguez's trial, jurors gasped and cried at evidence showing Nixzmary's battered body.
Santiago's lawyer said, "We're going to tell her side of the story. By the end of this case, people are going to find out what happened in that household was not murder," suggesting their client was not mentally stable and suffered abuse under Rodriguez as well. The defense also wants to limit the presence of spectators who support the memory of Nixzmary Brown during the trial.