Judge Denies Public Access in Court for Beating Death Case

April 23, 2012 Updated Apr 23, 2012 at 7:11 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

April 23, 2012 Updated Apr 23, 2012 at 7:11 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) -A Buffalo man accused of tying up and beating his step-son to death in a basement appeared in court Monday but the judge denied access to the public including the victim's grieving family. Buffalo City Court Part 3 remained locked as 40-year-old Ali Mohamad Mohamud's felony hearing proceeded without the public. City Court Judge Diane Wray approved the motion by the defense.

"There's authority in the law to do it," said Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita. "But I can tell you in the years I've been a prosecutor, and its been over 2 decades, I have run many preliminary hearings and this is the first time I've seen a court room closed to the public. This is the public court room."

Mohamud is accused of tying up his 10-year-old step son, Abdifatah Mohamud, stuffing a sock in his mouth, and covering it with duct-tape before beating him to death in the basement of their Guilford Street home last Tuesday night. The Erie County District Attorney's Office opposed Monday's ruling, but the hearing proceeded without the public. Prosecutors will now have 45 days to present the case to a grand jury and if they indict Mohamud his case would then go to trial. Eyewitness News reached out to Judge Wray as well as Chief Buffalo City Court Judge Thomas Amodeo for clarity on Monday's decision, but our calls have not yet been returned. Mohamud is facing second degree murder charges. He remains behind bars without bail.