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Selection Of Jury To Begin In Murder Case

MAYVILLE — Jury selection is set to begin today for a Jamestown man charged in the April 2014 death of a 16-month-old child.

Tyler Perez, 35, has been jailed since March on charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. Perez, who is being represented by Chautauqua County Public Defender Ned Barone, pleaded not guilty when arraigned March 17 in front of Chautauqua County Surrogate Court Judge Stephen Cass in Mayville.

The grand jury indictment came 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, Barone told reporters that Perez maintained his innocence.

“It’s merely an accusation,” Barone said at the time. “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. 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,” the district attorney 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.”

Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings said the investigation had been “ongoing through the course of the last five years.” The chief said the department’s findings had been given to the District Attorney’s Office earlier this year, which ultimately led to the two-count indictment.

Perez has been in jail on $500,000 cash bail.

The trial is scheduled to be heard in front of Judge M. William Boller out of Buffalo.

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