NEW YORK (CBSNewYork ) — Opening arguments got under way Monday in the murder trial of a Brooklyn mother accused in the death of her 4-year-old daughter who was allegedly starved and beaten.
Prosecutors plan to present evidence that Carlotta Brett-Pierce allegedly strapped her daughter to a bed and denied her food and water.
Marchella Brett-Pierce, who was born with underdeveloped lungs, weighed just 18 pounds — about half the size of a normal girl her age — when she was found dead in the family’s Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment in September 2010, officials said.
Brett-Pierce told police that she found her daughter’s cold and unconscious body on Sept. 2 and tried to resuscitate her before calling 911.
The city medical examiner’s office has said the little girl suffered from child abuse syndrome, including acute drug poisoning, blunt impact injuries, malnutrition and dehydration.
Prosecutors said the girl had up to 30 adult doses of Benadryl and 60 doses of Claritin in her system.
Brett-Pierce could face up to 25 years to life in prison.
“I think the truth will come out. I think what you’re going to find is people’s charges have been over-elevated,” said Brett-Pierce’s lawyer, Alan Stutman.
The child’s grandmother, Loretta Brett, is also on trial. She is charged with second-degree manslaughter in the high-profile case.
“My client had no legal duty and didn’t do anything. She did not do anything to harm her grandchild,” said the grandmother’s lawyer, Julie Clark.
Both women have pleaded not guilty.
Marchella’s death also prompted a probe into the Administration for Children’s Services. Two ACS workers were charged with criminally negligent homicide in connection with the case. They are awaiting trial.
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