Updated 10/28/2010 12:47 PM
Brooklyn Mother Pleads Not Guilty To Assault On Her Dying Child
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The mother of a Brooklyn girl who was severely underweight at death pleaded not guilty to assault charges.
Carlotta Brett-Pierce, whose four-year-old daughter weighed just 18 pounds at her death, told the judge at the New York State Supreme courthouse today, "I never abused my baby."
Pierce's lawyer asked for a bail reduction, but the judge increased bail from $300,000 to $500,000, saying Pierce is considered a flight risk.
Prosecutors are still waiting for autopsy results from the medical examiner's office to determine whether charges against Pierce should be upgraded to murder.
Marchella Pierce was found dead in September with ligature marks on her wrists and ankles.
Prosecutors say she had been tied to her bed and repeatedly beaten with a belt and video box.
Prosecutors have asked for an order of protection for Pierce's other children, who have been placed in foster care. One of the defendant's children, a five-year-old, is considered a witness in the case.
Pierce is due back in court on November 16, when her drug treatment program report will be reviewed by the judge.