Father Ordered to Stand Trial in Daughter's Death

Father Ordered to Stand Trial in Daughter's Death

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Ernesto Flores Morales has been bound over for trial on a charge of murder in the death of his toddler daughter.

After a four-hour preliminary hearing, 2nd District Judge Parley Baldwin ruled Wednesday there was enough evidence to try Morales in the March 30 death of Lesly Morales. A status conference was set for June 16.

The 17-month-old child's mother testified through an interpreter that Morales beat her almost daily and started beating the girl a month before she died.

"He used to bite her," she said, and would toss her in the air in what he said was play, but the little girl would cry.

She said Morales told her once that he didn't love the girl because he did not believe he was the father.

He also cut his daughter's shoulder-length hair to a near Marine Corps trim because he'd wanted a son, she said.

Deputy State Medical Examiner Maureen Frikke said the girl had one arm broken in two places, all manner of bruising and abrasions all over the body, bleeding inside the eyes and the lining of the brain, bite marks on the back, an arm, a knee, and the buttocks, and a crushed thymus gland.

Ogden police detectives testified Morales initially claimed the child slipped when he was tossing her in the air, or had fallen off a chair or fell down a flight of stairs.

When confronted with photographs of the extensive injuries, he eventually admitted to battering her -- and throwing her around -- citing a frustration he couldn't explain, the detectives testified.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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