Acadiana Crime Blotter: Cottonport man suspected in carjacking of UL-Lafayette student _lowres

Photo provided by KATC -- Jamal Charles of New Iberia was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for the first-degree murder of a 4-year-old girl.

A state appeals court has upheld the conviction of a New Iberia man for beating his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter and then scalding her to death, according to an Associated Press report.

Jamal Charles waived a jury trial. A state district judge convicted him last year of first-degree murder in the January 2011 death of Ray’neisha Edmond, and sentenced him to life in prison without parole.

Judge Charles Porter also convicted Charles of second-degree cruelty to the child’s 3-year-old brother, Ray’mon Hudson.

Investigators said Charles put the victim and her 3-year-old brother in a bathtub filled with 180-degree water. Charles also is accused of beating the girl with a hammer.

During the trial, forensic pathologist Christopher Tape said testified the girl was severely burned from the waist down and had injuries from blunt-force trauma on her scalp, spine, heart, lungs and other parts of her body.

Tape testified some of the injuries were hours old, but others had been there for days.

Her brother was burned by the scalding water.

Defense attorney Edward Bauman argued that Charles might have buckled under stress of unemployment and caring for four children.

The court rejected his arguments, saying evidence and expert testimony proved Charles meant to kill the little girl.

Charles testified that he was out with friends the night of her death.