South LA Father Pleads Not Guilty in 4-Year-Old Daughter's Death

Prosecutors allege his daughter, Zaraellia Thompson, was physically abused.

A South Los Angeles man pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony charge stemming from the death of his 4-year-old daughter earlier this month.

Charles Richard Lee, 23, could be sentenced to up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of one count of assault on a child causing death. He was ordered to return to court Feb. 11, when a date is expected to be set for a preliminary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Prosecutors allege his daughter, Zaraellia Thompson, was dropped off several weeks prior to her death at her father's home in the 1500 block of East 42nd Street and that he physically abused her over the course of that time.

Paramedics sent to the home Dec. 2 found the child unresponsive and took her to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where she died. A determination on the cause of the girl's death has been deferred pending further investigation, according to the coroner's website.

Lee was arrested the day of the child's death by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's Juvenile Division and is being held without bail.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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