Modified: October 17, 2014 3:45pm
Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announces that 27 year-old Matthew Kuzdzal of 27 Albany St. in the City of Buffalo, was convicted as charged of Murder in the Second Degree and Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child, after a two week jury trial before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Burns.
On September 15, 2015, Kuzdzal, acting with a depraved indifference to human life, fatally beat 5 year-old Eain Brooks to death. Kuzdzal also sodomized the victim, who was child of Kuzdzal’s then girlfriend, Nora Brooks. Kuzdzal faces a maximum of 50 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced on October 28, 2014 by Justice Burns.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney James Bargnesi, Chief of DA Sedita’s Homicide Bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Kristi Ahlstrom, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau. DA Sedita also lauded the professional investigation conducted by the Buffalo Police Department Homicide Squad.
This case has generated much publicity and controversy, not only because of the defendant’s horrendous crimes, but also because of the alleged failure of Child Protective Services and/or Ms. Brooks to prevent the murder and sexual assault. Some have even suggested that Nora Brooks is criminally responsible and have called for this office to prosecute her.
The prosecution standard used by this office has been publicly set forth on many occasions and is as follows: consistent with the discretion afforded to a District Attorney by the laws of this state, the Office of the Erie County District Attorney prosecutes when a legitimate investigation supplies us with credible evidence, likely admissible in court, that proves a crime was committed and that proves an individual committed that crime.
Uncorroborated claims of an accuser, including one with a buck to pass or an axe to grind, are not credible evidence. Likewise, claims set forth in a non-law enforcement agency report, especially when those claims are based upon anonymous sources, non-credible sources, and multiple levels of hearsay, are not credible evidence and are not admissible in a court of law.
Defendant Kuzdzal committed savage crimes, was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and has been convicted as charged. Ms. Brooks, by contrast, fully and truthfully cooperated in the investigation. She was also a vital prosecution witness at trial.
Ms. Brooks did not participate in the defendant’s crimes, did not assist the defendant in committing these crimes, and was not present when the crimes occurred. She was neither arrested by the police nor indicted by the grand jury. It is our understanding that Ms. Brooks has complied with the conditions imposed on her by the Department of Social Services.
Regardless of whether someone is of the opinion that Ms. Brooks’ might be morally responsible for son’s death, she is not criminally responsible for her son’s death. Nor is there sufficient credible evidence, likely admissible in a criminal courtroom, that proves Ms. Brooks committed another crime. Accordingly, she will not be criminally prosecuted.