A U.S. Navy corpsman charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend's 19-month-old son in Alpine will be held without bail, a San Diego Superior Court judge ordered Tuesday.
During a video arraignment, Brett Brown, 29, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and assault on a child with force likely causing death. He is accused of killing 19-month-old Lucas Orlando, who died of multiple skull fractures, the medical examiner’s office determined.
Lucas also suffered a broken arm and leg, Deputy District Attorney Chantal de Mauregne revealed in court.
She told the judge Brown would occasionally care for Lucas, his girlfriend’s son. The prosecutor said "there had been injuries to the toddler over some time," but would not say whether Lucas endured constant abuse or if his mother knew about it.
Brown has two children of his own.
"When it's a child of any age, but especially a child under 5 years old, the vulnerability aspect is astronomical, especially considering they have no way of protecting themselves at all," said de Mauregne.
Sheriff’s deputies responded on Jan. 11 to the Alpine Oaks condominium complex on Arnold Way, where they were told Lucas had fallen.
Deputies began CPR on the boy before paramedics arrived and rushed him to the hospital. He died two days later.
The medical examiner later determined Lucas’ cause of death to be blunt force trauma. His death was ruled a homicide.
Brown was arrested on Jan. 14. A Navy spokesperson told NBC 7 Brown is a corpsman attached to the Naval Medical Center San Diego.
His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 29.