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Compton man charged in death of 5-year-old niece

June 15, 2010 | 12:09 pm

Prosecutors charged a 25-year-old Compton man Tuesday with murder in the slaying of his 5-year-old niece, whose body was discovered wrapped in a trash bag inside a bedroom closet in the family's apartment.

Julian Carter faces one count of murder with the special allegation of personal use of a deadly weapon, a knife, in the blunt-force trauma of Mireya Nila McCall, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office. 

Carter, who was being held on bail of $1.08 million, faces up to 26 years in state prison if convicted on all counts.

Mireya's mother called about 7:20 a.m. Sunday to report Mireya missing, said Lt. Liam Gallagher of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies quickly found her body in the closet, although Carter was not home when the discovery was made, authorities said. Carter was arrested after family members found him.

Sheriff's investigators have not detailed how the girl was killed, but Gallagher said investigators have recovered evidence tying Carter to the killing. According to a coroner's report, Mireya was killed by "sharp-force trauma to the neck."

Neighbors said Carter's behavior had recently become increasingly bizarre and menacing. They also said he appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

Last August, he slapped a neighbor, a 3-year-old girl, in the face. Sheriff's deputies took Carter away, said the girl's mother, Wendy Walker, 29. His behavior just got stranger and stranger, she said.

Walker said that in January, she caught him snarling profanities at her daughter through her window.

-- Andrew Blankstein