Mother Accused Of Abuse, Murder Claims Malnourished Daughter Lost Weight Through Activity
The defense rested Monday after a Brooklyn mother charged with the abuse and murder of her malnourished four-year-old daughter took the stand in her own defense. Borough reporter Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Carlotta Brett-Pierce showed little emotion in Brooklyn State Supreme Court on Monday when talking about her deceased daughter. On the witness stand, Brett-Pierce told the jury how her daughter, Marchella Pierce, had severe health problems and had been in facilities since her premature birth.
She told jurors, "I felt that once my child came home she would be okay."
But Marchella died in September 2010, just seven months after she was allowed to go home. She lost a third of her weight while in her mother's care and died at age four, weighing just 18 pounds.
Brett-Pierce is charged with second-degree murder. When asked on cross-examination if she noticed her child was losing weight, Brett Pierce blamed it on Marchella, saying her child was always running around.
"She looked like a kid not sitting on her booty all day. Her legs were getting skinny," Brett-Pierce said.
When asked about the bruises to Marchella's body, Brett-Pierce answered, "She'd fall. She had quite a bit of marks. She was very rough."
Brett-Pierce denied tying Marchella to a bed. Then the prosecutor brought up the initial police investigation, asking, "Is it true you told the detective, 'Marchella was tied because her little ass was wilding out?'"
Brett-Pierce responded, "Yes."
Brett-Pierce's lawyer, Allen Stutman, admitted there were some inconsistencies but talked about his client's possible appeal to the jury.
"It's obvious that people have different memories of different events and recall events in different ways. I think there was a thread of a consistency through my client's testimony and I think her demeanor showed that she was a mother," Stutman said.
The defense also rested in the case of Marchella's grandmother, Loretta Brett. Brett is charged with manslaughter, since her granddaughter was living in her home when she died.
Brett chose not to take the stand.
"My client didn't want to testify because she doesn't feel like they made out a case against her and that's why she didn't testify," said Julie Clark, Brett's attorney.
Closing arguments for Brett are scheduled for Wednesday and closings for Brett-Pierce are scheduled for Thursday.