The woman accused of fatally beating her 4-year-old nephew for refusing to complete a spelling assignment never intended to harm him, her lawyer said Sunday.
"This could only be described as being the result of excessive discipline with horrific unintended results, said Michael Gold, lawyer for Christen Dale.
Dale, 21, was arraigned Friday on manslaughter, assault and other charges in the death of Ethan Ali.
Gold called the death a tragedy for the Brooklyn family and the defendant.
The 21-year-old Dale told a detective Ethan was having trouble spelling and refused to finish an assignment for the first time Tuesday, according to a criminal complaint.
The next day, Dale struck the boy repeatedly with the belt, prosecutors say.
A medical examiner found extensive bruising on his body, back and head, as well as internal bleeding.