Updated 04/16/2012 11:44 PM
Prosecutors Argue Abuse From Mother, Grandmother Led To Brooklyn Girl Starving To Death
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Two separate juries heard opening statements Monday in trials stemming from a malnourished Brooklyn girl's death in 2010, allegedly due to treatment from her mother and grandmother.
Carlotta Brett-Pierce and her mother, Loretta Brett, are facing charges including murder and manslaughter in the death of Carlotta's daughter, four-year-old Marchella Pierce.
Two separate juries are hearing the case, one for Marchella's mother and one for her grandmother.
The young girl was found dead inside her family's home in September 2010, weighing just 18 pounds.
Investigators say Marchella's malnourished body was "all skin and bones" and had been beaten.
Prosecutors say autopsy results show Marchella had only a single kernel of corn in her stomach as well as adult doses of Benadryl and Claritin.
They also say she had bruises all over her body and ligature marks on her ankles from being tied to her bed.
"Beaten, bound, drugged, dehydrated and starved, that's how Marchella Pierce died," said prosecutor Perry Cerrato.
However, Brett-Pierce's defense lawyer says Marchella was born prematurely, weighing only one pound at birth, and had severe medical issues her whole life. He also said her client was ignorant of how to care for her daughter.
"You've heard both sides. At the end of the day I think the truth will come out and I think what you're going to find is that the peoples' charges are over elevated and I think that there is a truth somewhere in between," said defense lawyer Alan Stutman.
Marchella died just seven months after she was allowed to go home from a medical care facility where she was being treated.
Prosecutors said she was a success story at the time, originally weighing 26 pounds when she went back to her grandmother's home, but then lost a third of her body weight.
Prosecutors argue Loretta Brett shared responsibility in raising and caring for the child because she lived with her. However, Brett's lawyer argued the medical facility caring for Marchella since birth put the child in the parent's care, not in the grandmother's.
Two former Administration for Children's Services workers are also facing charges for their handling of the case.
The case ended early Monday because one of the jurors felt faint.
If convicted, Brett faces up to 15 years in prison for manslaughter.
Brett-Pierce faces 25 years to life for second-degree murder.