BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn –– A Brooklyn woman has been convicted of beating her 4-year-old nephew to death while babysitting him more than two years ago, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Christen Dale, 24, was convicted Tuesday for manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child following a jury trial. Dale could face up to 25 years in prison. Her sentencing date is set for June 1st at Brooklyn Supreme Court.
Dale, who lived at 287 Rockaway Pkwy. with her sister and nephew, Ethan Ali, was watching the boy while her sister was at work on February 25, 2015. She admitted to hitting the boy with a belt, striking him repeatedly with both the strap and the metal buckle, according to trial testimony. Her fit of rage came after the woman grew infuriated over the child’s lack of focus during a spelling lesson.
“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,” Gonzalez said. “Little Ethan should have had many years to grow and thrive.”
Results from the medical examiner’s office showed Ethan suffered blunt impact across the body and internal bleeding causing a multi-system organ failure.
In the days after the deadly beating, Dale’s defense attorney Michael Gold said she had been caring for the boy for months, describing her as loving and protective.
He explained the death as a case “extreme discipline gone wrong” and asked that she be released on her own recognizance. However the judge ordered her to be held without bail. She was placed on suicide watch.