Man Facing Life in Prison in Beating Death of Girlfriend’s 2-Year-Old Daughter

Two-year-old Zanai Noel seen in a family photo.

Two-year-old Zanai Noel seen in a family photo.

A Palmdale man pleaded no contest Wednesday to second-degree murder in the beating death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter last September.

Matthew Worthen, 24, was left home alone with Zanai Noel for only a few minutes when he assaulted her, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

When the child’s mother returned, the girl appeared to be having trouble breathing and was taken to an area hospital, where she died, the release stated.

According to the medical examiner, the toddler suffered a collapsed lung, several broken ribs and a shredded liver in the attack, The Antelope Valley Times reported.

Worthen was set to return to court on Sept. 8, when he was expected to be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, the DA’s office said.