MONTICELLO, Mo. -- The LaGrange man charged in the August death of a toddler has pleaded not guilty.
The Lewis County circuit clerk's office said Marcus A. Mays on Thursday entered the plea to charges of second-degree murder, abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death, endangering the welfare of a child involving drugs and possession of a controlled substance in the Aug. 21 death of 2-year-old Taylen Allen.
Taylen died Aug. 21 at St. Louis Children's Hospital. An autopsy found that she died from a closed-head injury.
Mays allegedly told police that he was angry with the girl, who was in his care, because she soiled her pants. He reportedly pushed her into a toilet and struck her on the buttocks with a belt and struck her in the head with the back of his hand numerous times, causing head injuries.
Taylen was taken to Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Ill., on Aug. 17 and later transferred to St. Louis.
During a preliminary hearing last month, Taylen's mother, Elizabeth Lamme, testified that she brought the toddler to Mays' home about 8 or 9 p.m. Aug. 16 so she could feed a lamb that he had.
Lamme said that after Taylen fed the lamb, they went inside Mays' home to watch children's movies, and Taylen fell asleep. Lamme testified that she left to get her brother a pack of cigarettes, and Mays told her that she could leave Taylen, as the toddler had previously stayed at the house.
After running the errand, Lamme testified that she went to her mother's house, where she fell asleep.
Lamme testified that Mays called the next morning telling her she needed to return to his home right away.
When she arrived, she said that Taylen wouldn't respond to her, and that her eyes were half open and she was limp.
Mays drove Lamme and Allen to Blessing. He was arrested later that day.
Mays is set to return to court Jan. 10 for trial setting.
He continues to be held in the Lewis County Jail on $1 million bond.