A Van Nuys baby-sitter on Monday was ordered held for trial on a charge of murdering an 18-month-old girl who experts said was scalded with water, beaten and then shaken to death.
Nova M. Thompson, 34, who has two children of her own and is pregnant, also was ordered to stand trial on a charge of felony child abuse in the June 9 death of Jasmine Lynn Sanders.
At the conclusion of a three-day preliminary hearing in Van Nuys Municipal Court, Judge Michael S. Luros rejected a defense argument that the death could have been accidental.
He described as "very, very credible" testimony by Thompson's 4-year-old daughter, Carlaina Johnson, that her mother scalded the little girl and threw her into a bathtub.
Although Luros said the testimony of multiple injuries convinced him the death was a case of first- degree murder, which requires premeditation, Deputy Dist. Atty. Leslie Kenyon said, "Realistically, I think it will end up as second- degree murder."
If convicted of first-degree murder, Thompson could be imprisoned for life, while the maximum term for second-degree murder is 15 years to life.
Thompson, who has been in jail since the girl's death, is being held in lieu of $400,000 bail. She is to be arraigned in Superior Court on Sept. 11.