Man pleads not guilty in child’s murder

A former Grand Junction man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to killing his ex-girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.

Charles McEachern, 33, of Littleton, pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. A 10-day trial is scheduled to begin July 20.

McEachern appeared to be headed for a plea deal last month after Mesa County District Judge Brian Flynn granted a delay so prosecutors could speak with the family of the child, Miranda Baca, to see if they would accept the terms of an agreement proposed by the defense. But McEachern instead pleaded not guilty.

McEachern was arrested in Arvada in December 2007 in connection with Baca’s June 9, 2006, death.

According to court records, McEachern was watching Baca while her mother and McEachern’s girlfriend, 29-year-old Tiera Morger, worked the night shift at a nursing home. McEachern told police he was the only person in the house after Morger left for work but denied hurting the child.

Morger called 911 on the morning of June 9 after returning home from work and finding Baca not breathing and biting her tongue.

A doctor at St. Mary’s Hospital said the girl suffered from massive cerebral hemorrhaging, likely a result of child abuse, and indicated the injury would leave her brain dead. The doctor also reported two lateral bruises on Baca’s back, according to court records.

Baca was pronounced brain dead later that night.

McEachern continues to be held in the Mesa County Jail on $500,000 bond.


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