When I first heard about this story 2 years ago, I was outraged and now that I've become a dad since then, I' m just absolutely sickened by this monster!

Prosecutor: 'Systematic Torture And Abuse'

Nixzmary Brown's Stepfather Tried For Murder

POSTED: 3:36 pm EST January 16, 2008
UPDATED: 4:29 pm EST January 16, 2008

NEW YORK -- Nixzmary Brown, a battered 7-year-old who was tied to a chair, forced to use a cat-litter box and punished with cold water, died in a "prison" of "systematic torture and abuse," a prosecutor said Wednesday at the opening of her stepfather's murder trial.
"It was inevitable her life would end the way it did: battered and beaten, left alone on the floor, moaning until she could no longer hold onto life," Assistant District Attorney Ama Dwimoh told Brooklyn jurors.
The opening statements in the trial of Cesar Rodriguez came after being delayed when a juror was excused.

Juror number three was replaced by an alternate juror after telling the judge a union boss she worked for would not let her serve. The judge dismissed the juror despite an objection from the defense.
Two years ago, Nixzmary's death shocked the city, hastened child welfare reforms and made her name synonymous with child abuse.
There had been warning signs for years before the little girl died from a vicious blow to the head. School employees had reported that she had been absent for weeks the previous year. Neighbors noticed unexplained injuries and noted the child appeared underfed and small for her age. Child welfare workers had been alerted twice but said they found no conclusive evidence of abuse.
Dwimoh told jurors that Cesar Rodriguez beat his stepdaughter and dunked her in cold water after accusing her of stealing a cup of yogurt.
Before that, Nixzmary was confined to a room with dirty mattresses, a broken radiator, an old wooden school chair with a rope, and the litter box.
The victim was "routinely tied to the chair. She was repeatedly beaten with a belt and fists -- his fists," Dwimoh said, pointing to the defendant.
"That little girl had no choice but to defecate in that litter box. ... That was her prison the defendant created for her."
Authorities say evidence against Rodriguez includes crime-scene photos in the family's three-bedroom apartment and a videotape of the defendant casting blame on the malnourished victim, who weighed 45 pounds at the time of her death on Jan. 1, 2006.
"Sometimes she used to get me real angry and I used to just throw her," Rodriguez said during a post-arrest interview made public during a family court hearing.
Rodriguez's attorney, Jeffrey Schwartz, has sought to blame Nixzmary's mother, who faces a separate trial, for fostering an environment of abuse, and an overburdened bureaucracy -- the city Administration for Children's Services -- for doing too little to stop it. During jury selection, the lawyer signaled he also plans to explore the dilemma of how best to discipline children.
Schwartz said outside court Wednesday that his client is only guilty of being "a strict disciplinarian" and reiterated claims that the mother was responsible. Once the jury hears the defense case, he said, "It's going to become very clear who the monster is here."
A jury of nine women and two men is hearing the case.