LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - A state appeals court has upheld the conviction of a New Iberia man for beating his girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter and then scalding her to death.

Jamal Charles waived a jury trial. A district judge convicted him last year of first-degree murder in the death of Ray'neisha Edmond, and sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

Judge Charles Porter also convicted Charles of second-degree cruelty to the child's 3-year-old brother, Ray'mon Hudson.

The Advertiser ( reports that defense attorney Edward Bauman argued that Charles might have buckled under stress of unemployment and caring for four children.

The court rejected his arguments, saying evidence and expert testimony proved that Charles meant to kill the little girl.

Charles testified that he was out with friends the night of her death.

Information from: The Advertiser,

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