Palmdale man charged in beating death of girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter

City News Service | 9/30/2013, 5:26 p.m.

LANCASTER, Calif. — A Palmdale man accused of fatally beating his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter was charged today with murder and assault.

Matthew Albert Worthen, 23, was ordered to remain jailed on $1 million bail while awaiting arraignment Oct. 16 in Lancaster Superior Court, where he is charged with one count each of murder and assault on a child causing death.

Worthen allegedly assaulted the girl, who is identified in the criminal complaint as Zanai N., while the toddler was left in his care Sept. 22, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The girl appeared to be having difficulty breathing when her mother returned home, and the toddler was taken to a local hospital, where she died, according to prosecutors.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.