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CLINTON - The state will not seek the death penalty against a Clinton man charged in the beating death of his girlfriend's daughter, the DeWitt County prosecutor said Monday.

Richard Heuermann, 21, cried and asked for a chair to sit down as five aggravated battery and five first-degree murder charges were read against him in court. He is accused of beating 10-month-old Ava Bowhay on June 1.

Bond was raised from $500,000 to $1 million in the case. Heuermann must post $100,000, 10 percent of the total bond, to be released. Public defender Richard Goff was appointed to represent Heurermann.

An autopsy is planned for Tuesday, according to Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll.

According to charges, the child suffered brain swelling, four fractured ribs and a skull fracture. She died at 4 p.m. Sunday at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, where she was airlifted June 1. Heuermann and his father brought the child to a Clinton hospital around 9 p.m. June 1.

After the hearing, DeWitt County State's Attorney Jerry Johnson said he will not seek death as a possible penalty against Heuermann. He said a review of the charges indicates the case does not meet the criteria for a capital case.

Clinton Police Chief Mike Reidy said Heuermann was arrested June 8 at his parents' home in Clinton.

Reidy declined to give details of how the incident occurred but said Heuermann was watching the child while the baby's mother was working, said Reidy. Initial police reports indicated the child's injuries were deemed suspicious when she was brought to the hospital. Heuermann offered an explanation of what happened but police have not disclosed that account.

Members of Heuermann's family and relatives of the infant came to court but did not comment to the media.

A grand jury will meet in the next several weeks to consider indictments against Heuermann. His next court appearance is set for July 3.

Heuermann's case is the second murder pending murder case for DeWitt County.

Arthur Thomas Massey is awaiting trial on charges that he killed Katie Griffieth and her son Kendall in July. Griffieth was about seven months pregnant when she died. That case is expected to go to trial early next year.

Reporter Greg Cima contributed information for this story.


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