Matthew Warner, 30, pleaded no contest to first-degree murder after being charged with sexually assaulting, torturing and murdering his 19-day-old daughter, Ellorah Rose Warner on Jan. 23.
Although all charges, including assault of a child causing death, torture, oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child under 10 years old, and aggravated sexual assault of a child, except murder were dropped as part of the plea bargain, Warner faces 50 years in prison, The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reported.
Deputy District Attorney Julie Kramer said Warner beat Ellorah to death and the hid her body. He claimed she’d been kidnapped form his family’s Newhall, California, home. Warner later led authorities to his daughter’s body, which was “wrapped in towels, inside bags” in the cab of a pickup truck half a mile away from the family’s home, KTLA reported.
At the time of Ellorah’s murder, her mother was working. Police initially believed she’d been drowned, but later corrected that the infant had died due to blunt force trauma.
Warner will not face the death penalty. “In California only murders with a specific set of special circumstance allegations (are) eligible for the death penalty,” explained District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago.