FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 8, 2018

 

Brownsville Man Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison for Manslaughter
In Shaking Death Of 2-Year-Old Stepdaughter

Defendant Admitted Violently Shaking Child on Multiple Occasions

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brownsville man has been sentenced to 16 years in prison following his guilty plea last month to manslaughter for violently shaking his 2-year-old stepdaughter on multiple occasions, causing her death.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s repeated actions of violently shaking a defenseless and innocent child resulted in her heartbreaking death, devastating her family. Under no circumstances should a child be shaken. Shaking a child is often fatal and we will continue to hold those who abuse our children accountable.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as David Adams, 28, of Brownsville, Brooklyn. The defendant was sentenced to 16 years in prison and 10 years’ post-release supervision by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Deborah Dowling. He pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter last month.

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 rotate back and forth rapidly several times. In statements made to police following his arrest, the defendant stated that immediately following that incident the child’s body became rigid and she did not respond to external stimuli.

The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant told police that on November 12, 2014, between 3 and 4:30 p.m., he saw Thaiya Spruill-Smith’s body become rigid and he shook her rapidly several times, causing her head to snap back and forth. He said that he then saw her body to go limp. He then shook her again several times, he told police, causing her body to become rigid. The child’s mother, Teoka Spruill-Adams, told police she 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.

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