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Palmdale man faces prison for fatally beating 2-year-old girl

A Palmdale man accused of fatally beating his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter has pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree murder, prosecutors said.

Matthew Albert Worthen, 24, entered his plea Wednesday just before jury selection was set to begin, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

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Prosecutors said Worthen assaulted the girl, identified in court records as Zanai N., on Sept. 22 while the toddler was left in his care for a few minutes, prosecutors said.

When the child's mother returned home, the girl appeared to be having difficulty breathing and was taken to a hospital, where she later died, prosecutors said.

Worthen is scheduled to return to court Sept. 8. He faces 15 years to life in prison.

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