FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Brownsville Woman Convicted of Manslaughter for
Beating Her 4-Year-Old Nephew to Death with a Belt
Defendant Struck Child Numerous Times, Claiming
He Wouldn’t Focus During Spelling Lessons
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a 24-year-old Brownsville woman has been convicted of first-degree manslaughter for beating her 4-year-old nephew to death with a belt and its buckle while she was babysitting him.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The defendant’s crime is made even more atrocious by the excuse she offered for beating her nephew to death: that he wouldn’t focus on his spelling lessons. Little Ethan should have had many, many years to grow and thrive, but instead he was robbed of his life by this defendant’s vicious attack. I remain committed to vigorously investigating and prosecuting those who seek to harm our children.”
The Acting District Attorney identified the defendant as Christen Dale, 24, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. She was convicted today of first-degree manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Miriam Cyrulnik, who set sentencing for June 1, 2017, at which time the defendant faces up to 25 years in prison.
The Acting District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on February 25, 2015, inside of 287 Rockaway Parkway, where the defendant lived with her sister and her nephew, Ethan Ali, 4, the defendant was watching the child while her sister was at work.
At some point, according to testimony, the defendant began to beat him with a belt, striking him repeatedly with both the strap and the metal buckle. The defendant told police she had been trying to teach the 4-year-old to spell and became enraged when the child failed to focus on the lesson.
According to the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Ethan suffered blunt impact trauma resulting in internal bleeding causing multi-system organ failure, and was left with extensive bruising on his torso, back, buttocks, thighs, arms and scalp.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Frank DeGaetano, First Deputy Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Deanna Paul, also of the Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief.