(11:40 AM) Jury Selection To Begin In Hodnett Murder Trial
MAYVILLE — Jury selection is set to begin Tuesday for a Jamestown man for his role in the 2014 beating death of a child.
Tyler Perez, 35, has been jailed since March on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty to charges when arraigned March 17 in front of Chautauqua County Surrogate Court Judge Stephen Cass in Mayville.
Perez was indicted by a grand jury almost five years after 16-month-old Nayla Hodnett died as the result of blunt force trauma.
On the night of April 16, 2014, Hodnett — a resident of 218 1/2 Newland Ave. in Jamestown — was taken to WCA Hospital’s emergency room by her mother before being transferred to Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo via Starflight for further treatment.
She later died of her injuries the following day. An autopsy at the Erie County Medical Center determined the cause of death was a homicide.
Following arraignment in March, Chautauqua County Public Defender Ned Barone told reporters that Perez maintained his innocence. Barone is representing Perez.
“It’s merely an accusation,” Barone said. “He’s maintained his innocence since the beginning.”
Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson confirmed earlier this year the charges are directly related to the April 2014 incident in Jamestown. He said similar cases that don’t immediately result in criminal charges are continually looked at for any new developments.
“Obviously, with any case of this nature, if it’s left unresolved it continues to be looked for analysis of different evidence (and) witnesses coming forward,” Swanson said. “It’s no different than any other cold case, and I wouldn’t call it a cold case because it was kind of always on the front burner, but additional investigation sometimes gets you where you are.”