McCullen pleads not guilty in toddler's death

The man accused of murdering a Gaston County toddler pleaded not guilty Thursday.

GASTONIA, N.C. -- A Gaston County man accused of killing a 3-year-old girl pleaded not guilty in court on Thursday morning.

William McCullen faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Jordyn Dumont.

Prosecutors said they will not seek the death penalty, instead, life in prison. They're also not planning to offer a plea deal.

McCullen's attorney, Brent Ratchford, requested his client receive a $100,000 secured bond, though, he added McCullen would likely be unable to afford it.

Prosecutors asked the judge to set a $2 million bond.

"He killed a child," a prosecutor said. "There's nothing more dangerous than that."

Judge Jesse Caldwell agreed with prosecutors prompting cheers and clapping from courtroom observers.

"Let's keep it quiet in here please," Judge Caldwell said after the cheers. "Sheriff, if anyone disruptive, eject them from the court. This is not a public hearing where someone's entitled to demonstrate their feelings. This is a court of law."

Outside the courtroom, observers were emotional.

"It broke my heart. I just started crying," one observer said. "I know he's guilty. I feel it in my heart."

Ratchford said a trial for his client may not commence until fall 2017, at the earliest.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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