BROOKLYN - Prosecutors in the murder trial against the stepfather of Nixzmary Brown, the 7-year-old girl beaten to death two years ago, have dropped some charges after Nixzmary?s brother was deemed unfit to testify.
However, the central murder charge against Cesar Rodriguez remains as jury selection for the trial, expected to last six to eight weeks, got under way Tuesday.
Attorneys for the defendant point to the dropped charges, including one for sexual abuse, as evidence of a flawed case. However, prosecutors say they have enough proof, including graphic photos of a beaten Nixzmary and a taped confession from Rodriguez.
At the time of her death, Nixzmary weighed just 36 pounds. She was a victim, police say, of chronic beatings, starvation and torture. Following her death, the Administration for Children?s Services drew heavy criticism for failing to prevent the tragedy, even after visiting the home several times.
If convicted, Rodriguez faces 25 years to life in prison.