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Man charged in the death of his girlfriend's toddler
BATTLE CREEK, MI -- A Battle Creek man is now charged with open murder in the death of his girlfriend's toddler.
22-year-old DePaul Brown was arraigned in Calhoun County Court this afternoon.
Police say they found the young victim 17-month-old Jaleah Boyd with extensive bruises around her neck.
Brown's family was in the courtroom for the arraignment and say they can't believe the allegations.
"DePaul would never hurt no kids, never, at all. He loved kids too much, he would never hurt no kids," says cousin Careon Love.
Police say when they arrived at the home on North Avenue they found Boyd not breathing on a bed.
But police say a babysitter at home with the child is the one who called 911 and they say the small child had extensive bruising around her neck.
Police tell us Brown has made statements admitting to hurting the 17-month-old but his family says hes being targeted because of his criminal history.
"What he did in his past, that's his past, when he was younger, but he's not like that, he's not a violent person," says Love.
Brown was also charged as a fourth time habitual offender because he has three prior felony convictions.