BROOKLYN - The defense cross-examined a detective Tuesday in Cesar Rodriguez's trial for the death of his stepdaughter, Nixzmary Brown.

Detective Steven Sneider, who took written and oral statements from Rodriguez after the January 2006 beating death, said the girl's mother admitted she stayed with her daughter for a few hours after her husband allegedly put the girl's head under cold water.

The defense is arguing that Nixzaliz Santiago is responsible for her daughter's death, saying the woman waited before she sought help. Rodriguez administered CPR to the dying child in their Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment.

The defense plans to ask the judge Thursday, in a special hearing, to allow Santiago to testify on its behalf. However, Santiago has the right not to incriminate herself.

The prosecution is expected to question its final witness, a medical examiner, this week before the defense presents its case.Related information: