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Suspect pleads not guilty at arraignment hearing in death of toddler daughter


BAY ST. LOUIS, Mississippi — A former Mississippi coach has pleaded not guilty to a capital murder charge related to the 2013 death of his 23-month-old daughter.

Oren Lewis, 33, entered plea Tuesday in Hancock County Circuit Court. The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1EYx1yI) that Lewis was indicted in May in the death of his daughter, Maleah "Gracie" Bush, in 2013. His case is scheduled for trial in the April 2016 term of court.

Lewis, a Hancock County native, is a former standout college football player at Pearl River Community College and Louisiana Tech. He also was an assistant coach at Hancock High School.

Authorities said Lewis was with Gracie at a Waveland home Aug. 25, 2013, when the child was injured in a fall and was transported to Children's Hospital in New Orleans, where she died a few days later.

Several months passed before Lewis was arrested and charged with capital murder. He has since posted bond and was released from jail.

Since then, police have released few details about the case or a possible motive for the alleged murder.

According to the indictment, Lewis allegedly killed the child "while in the commission of the crime of felony child abuse."

Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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