Mother charged with murdering toddler pleads not guilty

An emotional day in court for a mother charged with murdering her young daughter.

The Powell County Grand Jury indicted Jessica Charles last week for the murder of 22-month-old Danika Charles.

Investigators say Jessica Charles killed the child by hitting her.

Charles appeared in court Wednesday morning for her arraignment.

She stood before a judge, visibly upset and shaking, as she entered a not guilty plea.

At times her attorney, Tucker Richardson, had to hold on to Charles' arm.

He tells 27 NEWSFIRST every time he's spoken with his client, she's been distraught by the accusations that she's responsible for beating her child to death.

Charles is also the person who allegedly called 911 on February 19 after discovering her daughter, Danika, unconscious and covered in bruises. Danika later died at a hospital.

Charles' attorney says ever since then, his client has been an emotional wreck.

Jessica Charles' father says someone else is to blame for the child's death, and police have arrested the wrong person.

The Charles family didn't want to go on camera, only saying the truth will come out during the trial.

Charles' attorney also asked the judge to reduce her $775,000 bond Wednesday.

But the judge said due to the seriousness of the charge against her, he'll keep her bond set at the full amount.

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