Plea delayed for man accused of killing daughter

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WOODLAND — A Sacramento man accused of killing his 4-year-old daughter in Winters continued his pattern of odd behavior during a brief appearance Friday, Dec. 22, in Yolo Superior Court.

Standing behind a large window in a holding cell separating jail inmates from the main courtroom, Markeese Leavell Carter twice blurted “no contest” even as his public defender, Ron Johnson, asked for more time before entering a plea to charges of murder, resisting arrest and sexual abuse of a child under age 10.

It was unclear whether the outburst was heard by Judge Paul K. Richardson, who granted Johnson’s request and rescheduled the arraignment hearing for Jan. 19.

A no-contest plea neither admits to or disputes a crime, but is treated the same as pleading guilty. Johnson later acknowledged the courtroom utterings but declined to comment when asked if Carter wants to resolve his case before it goes to trial.

Richardson found sufficient evidence to uphold the charges against Carter, 26, at his Dec. 8 preliminary hearing, where a Yolo County sheriff’s detective testified that Carter confessed to drugging and sexually assaulting his daughter, Aminatu-Amaya Abdul-Raafi, before tossing her into Putah Creek on Nov. 19.

According to Detective Juan Ceja, Carter believed the girl was not his biological child, but rather that of a friend he suspected of having an affair with his wife. That led to an argument between the couple, after which Carter took Amaya and her younger sister to visit his mother at the El Rio Villas housing complex near Winters.

“The plan was to frame his friend, that his friend kidnapped his daughter and sexually assaulted her,” Ceja testified. He said Carter admitted to slipping antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications into Amaya’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich as he and the girls picnicked along Putah Creek.

When the pills failed to kill her, however, Carter changed his plan and threw Amaya into the creek, telling relatives she had wandered away from him and fallen into the water, Ceja said.

Carter’s family claims he suffers from mental-health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, stemming from a stint in the National Guard.

Authorities say he’s exhibited bizarre behavior since their initial contact with him in Winters, where Carter reportedly was combative with ambulance personnel as they performed CPR on Amaya.

Carter allegedly rammed his body into Ceja during an interview at the Sheriff’s Office and refused to appear in court for his first arraignment. He attended his preliminary hearing and remained calm for the most part, but at one point belched loudly during the proceeding and struggled with officers as they led him from the courtroom.

He remains on a no-bail hold at the Yolo County Jail.


— Reach Lauren Keene at or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene



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