A man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder and assault charges stemming from the death of his 17-month-old son, who was found unresponsive at a South Los Angeles motel last summer.

Shane Zachary Flowers, 23, was charged last July with a felony count each of murder and assault on a child causing death.

The toddler — who was subsequently identified as Dee’ago Alexander Jones — was transported by the Los Angeles Fire Department from the 5600 block of South Western Avenue in “medical distress” and was pronounced dead at the hospital July 13, police said.

Flowers was detained the next day by Torrance police before being booked by Los Angeles police in connection with the boy’s death, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

The boy’s mother, Ryanna Jones, told KTLA5 last year that Flowers confessed to punching the boy after tripping over a video game controller. The child fell down, hit his head and lost consciousness.

“He told me that he didn’t think he hit him that hard for him to pass away,” Jones told the station. “And I kept telling him, `stop hitting my son.’ And every time I told him to stop, I got the outcome. I was getting beat up.”

Speaking to ABC7, Jones said she didn’t know why Flowers “would run from this situation and just leave us there, and not come back.”

“He didn’t even call to make sure he was even alive or OK,” Jones told the station.

She said the family of three was living at a motel as part of a shelter program for homeless families with children.

A date is scheduled to be set March 29 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require Flowers to stand trial in his son’s death.

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