The man accused of murdering an 18-month-old boy faces life in prison and even the death penalty. 24-year-old Manegabe Ally made his first appearance in Minnehaha County Court on Friday.
He faces one count of first degree, or premeditated murder, which carries life in prison or the death penalty. Ally could face a lesser count of second-degree murder, as well as three counts of manslaughter, which all carry a life sentences.
Using an interpreter to translate Swahili, Ally told Judge Natalie Damgaard he understands the charges against him, but does not agree with them.
Authorities say Ally was babysitting the toddler and his six-year-old sister while their mom was at work. Ally called 911 on Christmas Eve afternoon because he said the boy fell out of bed while he was napping and hurt himself. First responders noticed bruises on the boy's arms and thigh. He died at Avera McKennan Hospital a day later on Christmas.
An autopsy shows blunt force to the toddler's head caused significant swelling, bleeding and bruising to his head and brain. Examiners also found small tears in the toddler's skin behind his ears.
The Minnehaha County Coroner said falling out of bed onto carpet would not likely cause these severe injuries.
According to court papers, prior to reporting the injuries, Ally said he was playfully tossing the boy in the air and holding him in the air by his legs. But he said this did not cause toddler's death.