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April 25, 2019

Nanny charged with stuffing baby wipe down infant’s windpipe is only possible suspect, DA says at retrial

November 27, 2018
Marianne Benjamin-Williams is on trial for the May 18, 2017, attempted murder of little Maxwell Blutreich around 3:30 p.m. at his family’s Waterside Plaza apartment. (Alec Tabak for New York Daily News)

The toddler sister of a 2-month-old boy who nearly died when a baby wipe was jammed down his throat could not have done it, prosecutors said at the second trial of the infant’s nanny Monday.

Marianne Benjamin-Williams, 46, is charged in the May 18, 2017, attempted murder of little Maxwell Blutreich around 3:30 p.m. at his family’s Waterside Plaza apartment by Manhattan’s East River.

Her attorney has pointed the finger at Maxwell’s older sister, who was 14 months old when he was rushed to the hospital for emergency, life-saving surgery.

“It would have required force and strength to get it down such a narrow passage,” Assistant District Attorney Kristen Caruso said in her opening statement at Benjamin-Williams’ retrial in Manhattan Supreme Court. “Certainly more strength than a 14-month-old had.”

Prosecutors say it would have been impossible for the sister to have plugged his tiny windpipe with the wet cloth and argued Benjamin-Williams — the only adult in the apartment — had reached a boiling point.

“Unbeknownst to (the parents), the defendant became increasingly frustrated, overwhelmed, and unhappy, and unfortunately things were about to come to a head,” Caruso said.

Caruso pointed to a statement the suspect made to a police officer who arrived at the apartment in response to a 911 call.

Benjamin-Williams told him Maxwell “likes to chew on baby wipes.”

“They don’t,” Caruso argued. “The evidence will show that the only person who knew at the time what was blocking Maxwell’s air hole was the defendant…because she put it there.”

Raymond Loving, the nanny’s attorney, said an expert witness will testify that the choking could have been an accident or caused by the sister.

“On occasion (the sister) would wipe Max’s face with the baby wipe,” he noted.

“The evidence will not show Marianne had a motive to kill Maxwell Blutreich,” the lawyer added.

This is the DA’s second attempt to try Benjamin-Williams.

A proceeding in October was derailed by a mistrial within days because her 87-year-old former lawyer Leonard Levenson was ordered off the case. He could not keep up with the testimony due to hearing and sight limitations.

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