Boy to Testify Against Mother in Abuse Case

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A mother who is charged with killing her four-year-old daughter will face testimony from her six-year-old son, either in court or on closed circuit TV, depending on the decision of a Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge, next month.  

Carlotta Brett-Pierce, 31, was charged with the murder of her daughter Marchella Brett-Pierce in November 2010.

Between July 12 and September 2, 2010, Brett-Pierce allegedly tied Marchella to her bed, battered her with household items, deprived her of food and water, and force-fed her Benadryl. Marchella weighed only 18 pounds when she died in September 2010. 

Brooklyn prosecutors see the six-year-old boy as a key witness, one who was able to see the alleged abuse that took place in the Brett-Pierce apartment.

Judge Patricia DiMango will make a decision on April 10 about how the six-year-old boy will testify against his mother, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.

Loretta Brett, the children’s grandmother has been charged with manslaughter. Prosecutors allege she did not prevent the abuse she witnessed. She is being tried with her daughter and will also face testimony from her six-year old grandson.

Administration for Children’s Services supervised the family since November 2009, when Carlotta Brett-Pierce tested positive for drugs at the birth of her third child, another son.

For the first time in the city's history, ACS workers were also charged with criminally negligent homicide: Damon Adams, the former caseworker assigned to the Brett-Pierce family, and his former supervisor, Chereece Bell. They will face another pre-trial hearing this week, spokesman for the Brooklyn DA’s office said.

This Saturday, another child, 23-month-old Jacquile Degrassenreid, died. He was found unresponsive on early Saturday morning by his 21-year-old mother, who had apparently left him Friday night in the care of her companion, 19-year-old Tyree Wright, while she went to work, according to the Brooklyn DA’s office.  

Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner’s office, said the boy’s death was caused by “lacerations of the liver and pancreas with internal hemorrhage due to blunt-impact injuries.” She added his death was ruled a homicide.

Wright has been charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned on Monday and remanded in custody. A spokesman for the Brooklyn DA’s office said he expected the charges to be upgraded to murder by the time Wright faces grand jury.