Matthew W. Kuzdzal, accused of sexually assaulting and fatally beating his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son in their West Side apartment, initially told police that the boy fell down the stairs when Kuzdzal sent him to the basement with a laundry basket to do the wash and that he later found him there unconscious.
But three days later, after Eain Clayton Brooks had died and detectives showed Kuzdzal a stack of hospital photos of the boy’s injuries, including tears in his rectum, Kuzdzal told police he had attacked the boy after he urinated on himself.
Two homicide detectives testified about those statements Thursday at a hearing on a defense motion to prevent prosecutors from using the statements at Kuzdzal’s Sept. 4 murder trial. State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns said he will issue a ruling next week.
Kuzdzal, 26, is charged with second-degree murder and predatory sexual conduct against a child in the Sept. 15 slaying in the Albany Street apartment where he lived with his girlfriend, Nora D. Brooks, and her son Eain. After Eain’s death, an autopsy reportedly found signs on his body indicating that he had been sodomized.
Detective Christopher F. Sterlace said he took a statement from Kuzdzal after talking to him at Women & Children’s Hospital, where Eain had been taken by ambulance following a 911 call from Kuzdzal.
He said Kuzdzal told him Eain had fallen down the basement stairs after he told the boy to do the laundry. Nora Brooks was not home at the time.
Sterlace said he talked to Kuzdzal again later that night at the hospital, and Kuzdzal told him he had smoked marijuana on the porch after sending Eain to do the laundry. He said Kuzdzal also told him that he had fallen asleep on the couch.
After Eain died, Sterlace said he and Detective Salvatore Valvo questioned Kuzdzal again on Sept. 18 at Police Headquarters and that he told them Eain had fallen down the stairs. When they told him his statement was not consistent with the boy’s injuries, he insisted Eain had fallen, Sterlace said.
Sterlace said he left the room, and Valvo continued questioning Kuzdzal.
Valvo said he showed Kuzdzal graphic photos of the boy’s injuries, including anal tears and bruises on his shoulders, hips and legs. He said Kuzdzal indicated he would tell him what happened if “we didn’t charge him with rape.”
He said Kuzdzal told him he was angry because Eain had wet his pants and that marks on the boy’s back were from wedgies he had given him and that bruises on his shoulders were from him grabbing the boy when he resisted his efforts to take him to the shower.
The detective said Kuzdzal also told him that he pushed Eain and the boy fell and hit his head.
Valvo also testified that he and another detective had Nora Brooks make four calls on her cellphone to Kuzdzal while they were with her at the hospital between 6 and 8 p.m. Sept. 16 to talk about what happened the night before. He said they recorded the calls and suggested questions she should ask Kuzdzal, including how Eain fell.
Valvo said he thought Kuzdzal suspected that the conversations were being recorded.