Photo by John Schreiber.

A Bell Gardens alleged killer will have his next court date July 19 after he was charged with the beating death of his wife who protectively held the couple’s 4-year-old child during the fatal attack.

Michael Robles, 32, pleaded not guilty to murder and felony child abuse charges.

The attack was reported about 10:20 a.m. Wednesday in the 6200 block of Lanto Street, according to Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is assisting the Bell Gardens Police Department in the investigation.

Officers who responded to a medical rescue call found 28-year-old Azelea Villareal lying in the front yard. She had visible injuries to her upper body, Schrader said.

She was pronounced dead around 2 p.m. Thursday at an area hospital, authorities said.

Robles was arrested at the scene by Bell Gardens police and has remained behind bars since then.

A date is scheduled to be set July 19 for a hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to require him to stand trial. If convicted as charged, he could face up to 31 years to life in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

There was no word about how authorities knew the dead woman protected the child during the attack, nor the location of the child after the mother was killed and father kept behind bars.

Authorities did not disclose a possible motive for the killing.

Robles was in court Friday for the not guilty plea.

–City News Service

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