Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Brownsville Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Shaking Death
Of 2-Year-Old Stepdaughter, Faces 16 Years in Prison

Defendant Admits Violently Shaking Child on Multiple Occasions

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brownsville man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for violently shaking his 2-year-old stepdaughter on multiple occasions, causing her death.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant viciously attacked a helpless child who was left in his care, taking the life of an innocent, healthy little girl. He has now been held accountable for his cruel and senseless actions and I would urge parents to be extremely careful when choosing caregivers.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as David Adams, 28, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. The defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Deborah Dowling, who indicated she would sentence the defendant to 16 years in prison and 10 years’ post-release supervision when he is sentenced on June 8, 2018.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between October 20 and October 30, 2014, at 340 Dumont Avenue, where the defendant lived with his wife and stepdaughter, the defendant shook Thaiya Spruill-Smith several times causing her head to snap back and forth rapidly. Immediately following that incident the defendant allegedly noticed that the child’s body had become rigid and did not respond to external stimuli.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, on November 12, 2014, between 3 and 4:30 p.m., the defendant saw Thaiya Spruill-Smith’s body become rigid and he shook her rapidly several times, causing her head to snap back and forth, causing her body to go limp. He then shook her again several times, causing her body to become rigid. The child’s mother, Teoka Spruill-Adams, noticed the child’s breathing was labored at approximately 5 a.m., the next day, November 13, 2014, and called 911.

The child was taken to Brookdale Hospital and admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where she was determined to be brain dead. She was removed from life support on November 14, 2014. According to the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office, the cause of death was determined to be Abusive Head Trauma.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Frank DeGaetano, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Special Victims Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Bureau Chief.