BUFFALO, NY - Matthew Kuzdzal pleaded not guilty before a state supreme court judge Wednesday to charges that he sexually assaulted and then beat to death a 5-year-old boy.
Kuzdzal, of Buffalo, faces charges of Murder in the Second Degree and Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child in the death of Eain Brooks.
An autopsy showed Eain died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Kuzdzal was the live-in boyfriend of Eain's mother. His appearance in court lasted less than 2 minutes.
He was sent back to the Erie County Holding Center without bond, which can still be requested at a later time by the defense attorney.
Kuzdzal's attorney, Robert Cutting, said his client never had any sexual contact with Eain and also denied that his client is guilty of murder.
"Nothing he ever did deliberately was with the purpose to harm or injure or in any way do anything to that child," Cutting said.
Cutting also defended his position as the defense attorney, despite criticisms from Eain's family members who noted Cutting is a distant relative of the victim.
Cutting said he has had no contact with Eain or anyone else in that family for more than 30 years. He said there is no conflict of interest, and his client wants to keep him on as counsel.
If convicted on both charges, Kuzdzal faces a maximum of 35 years to life in prison.
Multiple family members and other came forward saying they contacted authorities and Child Protective Services numerous times leading up to Eain's death.
As a result, two committees of the State Assembly will hold a hearing looking into Erie County CPS. That hearing will take place in Buffalo Thursday morning at 10 a.m. in the Common Council Chambers at City Hall.