Lady  Justice 16-9

A Signal Hill man pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder and other charges stemming from the death of his live-in girlfriend’s 2-year- old son last summer.

Samuel Aguilar, 23, is charged with one felony count each of murder, child abuse and assault on a child causing death, along with a child abuse charge involving the woman’s other son. Aguilar is additionally charged with a felony count of injuring a girlfriend.

His 24-year-old girlfriend, Jessica Rey Cereceres, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of child abuse involving both children.

Aguilar and Cereceres were charged Aug. 10 following a year-long examination of reports and evidence involving injuries to the two children, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The couple lived with the children in Signal Hill.

The 2-year-old boy was pronounced dead at a hospital on Aug. 10 last year after Signal Hill police responded to a call from the 2300 block of Lewis Avenue that the toddler was not breathing.

The boy was identified in the criminal complaint as “Josue C.” and as Josue Maldonado by Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide investigators, who took over the investigation into the toddler’s death.

During the investigation, the sheriff’s department discovered that the woman’s year-old son also had injuries to his body, according to the prosecution.

Aguilar has been behind bars since last December, when he was arrested for alleged witness intimidation/dissuasion.

If convicted as charged, Aguilar could face a maximum of life in state prison, while Cereceres, who was arrested Aug. 11, could face up to seven years and eight months behind bars, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Wire reports 

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