New details about 5-year-old’s death

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – New details have emerged about the man charged with sexually assaulting and killing his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son.

Attorneys agree a plea deal isn’t a possibility for Matthew Kuzdzal. This case will go to trial. Prosecutors say he beat Eain Brooks to death last year.

During a pre-trial hearing Thursday, prosecutors revealed more details about their case. Judge Christopher Burns and attorneys heard from several police witnesses. Lt. Mike Long was the one of the first officers to arrive at the scene on the evening of September 15, 2013. He testified he responded to a call at 127 Albany about a child who had fallen down the stairs. Kuzdzal initially told Long he tried to perform CPR on the unconscious boy.

One of the lead detectives testified Kuzdzal’s story changed several days later. In a sworn statement on September 18, 2013, Kuzdzal told detectives Eain urinated on himself. Kuzdzal told police he got mad, threw Eain into the shower, and Eain hit his head.

In September 2013 Kuzdzal’s defense attorney Robert Cutting told News 4, “I think it could best be described as a tragic accident, not an intentional killing, and I think my client is heartbroken over the loss of a child that he regarded as his own son.”

Kuzdzal faces a second-degree murder charge and predatory sexual assault of a child.

Child Protective Services did have a case file open on Eain. His is one of several deaths that has prompted CPS reform.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told reporters Thursday the county has fired, suspended, or warned caseworkers whose work is not up to standards. Fifteen new caseworkers have been hired. CPS has also brought back about 10 retired caseworkers on a part-time basis.

Poloncarz says part of the problem is that CPS is receiving about 1,000 new cases a month, and many cases are being kept open longer than in the past.

“Cases are staying open longer than they have in the past, primarily because the county got dinged for closing cases too soon. So it’s a double-edged sword. You want to be able to close these cases so you can get them off the desks of the caseworkers, but you don’t want to close them too soon and then have missed things, and then have something bad happen,” Poloncarz said.

By state law, CPS workers have to be completely trained before they are allowed to take on any cases. And that process can take up to six months.

Poloncarz says there’s also a high turnover rate, because the stressful nature of the work.

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