A portion of a wall in Brooklyn in 2019 after...

A portion of a wall in Brooklyn in 2019 after it collapsed during a building project, killing 5-year-old Alysson Pinto-Chaumana. Credit: Brooklyn District Attorney's Office

A Valley Stream contractor was convicted Tuesday for causing the 2019 death of a 5-year-old girl in Brooklyn after a stone wall collapsed at a building where his company was working.

After a bench trial, Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun found Nadeem Anwar, 48, guilty of criminally negligent homicide in the death of the girl, Alysson Pinto-Chaumana.

The judge also found Anwar guilty of offering a false instrument for filing and falsifying business records. He was acquitted of charges of manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

Anwar faces 16 months to 4 years in prison at his sentencing on Aug. 14.

Brooklyn prosecutors said Alysson and her mother were visiting friends in Bushwick and waiting outside a three-story brownstone shortly before 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2019.

Prosecutors said the girl was standing on an enclosed patio near the front door and a granite fence. Several heavy stone pillars suddenly collapsed and a stone horizontal plate fell forward, crushing Alysson’s skull and killing her.

“This is a heartbreaking instance where a young child was needlessly and senselessly taken from her family because this defendant chose to ignore safety protocols by violating numerous provisions of New York City’s building code, building a heavy stone fence and failing to secure it,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement. “Hopefully, today’s verdict will send a message that dangerous and sloppy work by contractors will have serious consequences.”

Anwar’s defense attorney, Randy Scott Zelin, said Tuesday that his client was a subcontractor on the project but never worked on the stone wall. Zelin said he would appeal the judge’s verdict.

“This is an unspeakable tragedy. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a child, let alone to lose a child right in front of you,” Zelin said. “I believe in my heart that my client was not responsible for that fence and was not responsible for the collapse of that fence.”

Prosecutors said construction began in September 2018. Anwar was a licensed contractor in Nassau County, but had another contractor file an application to work on the Brooklyn brownstone without required permits for the exterior wall, according to prosecutors.

Anwar also failed to have a licensed engineer or architect conduct an analysis of the wall’s stability, which required a steel reinforcing bar and adhesive to anchor the stone pillars to the base and the top stone plate, prosecutors said.

“The death of Alysson Pinto-Chaumana was completely preventable,” city Buildings Commissioner James Oddo said in a statement. “Simply put, if this contractor had obtained permits for the work to build this railing, and adhered to our city’s construction code regulations, this young girl would still be alive today.”

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