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.
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.