Father accused of killing baby pleads not guilty

Court gavel
Signal File Photo.

A Canyon Country man accused of killing his child pleaded not guilty to two counts levied against him, according to L.A. County Superior Court officials.    

Marcel Taylor, 26, was charged last year with one count each of murder and assault of a child causing death after his daughter, Jelani, was found unresponsive by paramedics at a home on the 18000 block of Grace Lane in Canyon Country on Sept. 26 of last year.  

The baby was transported to the hospital, but ultimately died a few days later at L.A. Children’s Hospital. The cause of death was listed by investigators at the L.A. County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office as “blunt force trauma.”    

In November, his defense attorney had filed a request for reduced bail, stating that Taylor had no previous criminal record and had been considered a proud father. Prosecutors alleged that the baby had died from blunt force trauma to the back of her head. The defense motion was later denied.  

Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami stated, in his written response to defense legal counsel, that Taylor had told deputies he had been alone when watching the child, that he had shaken her and he had killed her.  

He was held to answer last month by Judge Andrew Cooper in a San Fernando courtroom.   

He is set to return Jan. 5 for a pretrial conference. During a pretrial conference, the involved parties establish timelines for concluding all pretrial activities, such as setting a tentative trial date, encouraging the settlement of cases, counsel trying to agree on undisputed facts or points of law, and more.  

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