Jose Cruz, 20, was charged with one count of murder in the death of his girlfriend's daughter, Carmen Ellis, in August.
Police responded to Cruz’s home on Long Wharf Drive and found the girl unresponsive and covered from head to toe in bruises. Ellis was transported to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in critical condition, but succumbed to her injuries later that night.
In the state’s request for a life sentence without parole, the state must allege at least one aggravating factor. The prosecutor’s office is arguing the 3-year-old girl was tortured while she was alive and that she was younger than 12 years old at the time of her death.
Cruz is expected to appear in court on Oct. 24 for his hearing.