Defendant’s boyfriend may be implicated at abuse trial

EVERETT — A Mukilteo woman accused of beating and starving a child may end up pointing the finger at her live-in boyfriend.

In recent days, Mary Mazalic’s attorney has signaled that he may implicate his client’s boyfriend as the person actually responsible for the girl’s injuries and severe malnutrition.

The man is the child’s adoptive brother. She came to live with him and Mazalic in 2010. The 10-year-old girl was removed from the home last year after two store employees called Child Protective Services to report concerns about the girl’s appearance and how Mazalic was talking to her.

The girl weighed about 51 pounds, well below the average weight of a healthy child her age. She had whip marks across her body and what appeared to be cigarette burns on her feet and buttocks.

The girl said Mazalic beat her with electrical cords and a wooden spoon.

Mazalic faces child assault, criminal mistreatment and witness tampering charges.

The child’s brother has not been charged with a crime.

Prosecutors initially listed him as a witness in the case against Mazalic. However, a question arose Friday whether the man would invoke his right to remain silent so as not to possibly incriminate himself if he is later charged.

The child testified last week that the man had hit her and was present when Mazalic beat her. Jurors were told that the man worked nights and slept during the day. The jury also heard that Mazalic had moved into the basement with the girl at some point, essentially setting up a separate household.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Lisa Paul told the judge that she and Everett defense attorney Max Harrison agreed over the weekend that they wouldn’t call on the man to testify.

Harrison, however, said Monday that he’d changed his mind after more thought. He may want to call the man to the witness stand, he said.

The man was in court with his lawyer Monday. The judge said before he is called to testify, the lawyers will have a hearing to learn whether the man will answer questions or invoke his right to remain silent.

Meanwhile, the trial was delayed for a couple of hours Monday after Mazalic complained of not feeling well. She initially told her attorney that she felt like she was high or drunk and believed she was having a reaction to some change in the dosage to her medications.

After the judge summoned nurses from the jail to check on Mazalic, she told medical staff that she was feeling tired.

The nurses testified that Mazalic’s medications had not been changed. They wouldn’t expect them to be causing any new side effects because she’d been on the same drug regimen for months. Mazalic reportedly has a seizure disorder.

Mazalic took the witness stand. She told the judge that she thought she was coming down with the flu. She complained of being groggy and nauseated. She said she wasn’t sure if it was from the stress of the trial. She said she just wanted to go back to her cell to rest.

When the prosecutor pressed her about her symptoms and whether they were affecting her ability to assist with her defense, Mazalic appeared to become impatient.

“For the millionth time, I really don’t feel well. I feel nauseous,” Mazalic said. “I don’t care how many people sit there and give me dirty looks, I don’t feel well today. I’m not trying to hold things up. The sooner this is done, the sooner I can talk to my family.”

Superior Court Judge Michael Downes concluded that while Mazalic might be feeling ill, she clearly was tracking what was going on in court. He said he was confident that Mazalic was competent to proceed.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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