Updated 12/17/2008 12:58 PM
2008 In Review: Brooklyn Courts Deliver Justice For Nixzmary Brown
The trial of three suspects accused of killing New York City Police Officer Russell Timoshenko during routine traffic stop is just one of the top stories which has come out the borough's courts this year. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
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Justice for Nixzmary Brown was finally delivered this year when both her mother and step father were convicted in the seven-year-old girl's beating death.
Cesar Rodriguez, sentenced to 29 years in prison, was found guilty of manslaughter among other crimes. Nixzaliz Santiago was sentenced to more than 40 years for manslaughter and two counts of assault.
New Jersey dentist Michael Mastromarino took a plea deal, admitting to enterprise corruption and grand larceny among many crimes carried out at a Brooklyn funeral home.
Mastromarino is the so-called mastermind behind the multi-million dollar scheme of stealing bones and tissue from the dead, replacing them with PVC piping, and selling them for transplants. He faces 18 to 54 years in prison. Two others took pleas as well and face jail time. Another was convicted of enterprise corruption at trial.
Brooklyn resident Michael Mineo claimed to feel vindicated after the district attorney indicted a transit officer for sodomizing him in a subway station. Two other officers have been charged with covering up the crime.
While major crime was down in the borough this year, with the number of murders in Brooklyn remaining relatively unchanged and rape rates dropping, bias crimes made headlines.
"Hate crimes have no place in Brooklyn and in New York and they must stop," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
The latest incident occurred in December, when an Ecuadorian immigrant was beaten to death in Bushwick by attackers who allegedly shouted anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs.
Earlier this year, dozens of criminals moved into the Brooklyn House of Detention. Community groups protested and filed a lawsuit against the city to prevent the jail from fully reopening and undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion.
Something that opened without protest: the Brooklyn Children's Museum, which doubled its size after an $80 million renovation.
The Park Slope Armory also got a transformation into a new state-of-the-art athletic facility.
This 12-acre site adjacent to the Dyker Beach Golf Course opened as the Junior Golf Center – the first of its kind in the nation. It features a six-hole golf course just for kids, free of charge.
The city's first IKEA furniture store opens in Red Hook.
While some buildings were going up, others were coming down. Demolition took place on the old Port Authority piers to make way for the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Coney Island's Astroland shut down after 46 years when the amusement park's new owners would not renew its lease.
The Waterfalls public art project proved to be unpopular in Brooklyn Heights, when the wind driven salt mist damages trees, plants, and gardens – turning them brown. As a result, the city was forced to scale back the operating hours.
Lastly, the Brooklyn Bridge was displayed in all its glory to mark the landmark structure's 125th birthday.