A Maplewood man pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder in the February beating death of an 18-month-old girl.
Leb Mike Meak, 35, said at a Ramsey County District Court hearing that he punched, squeezed and threw his girlfriend's daughter after the child upset him when she made a mess one night at his home.
"I disciplined her," Meak said quietly as he answered questions from his attorney and prosecutors.
According to the criminal complaint, police were called to Meak's home in the 2500 block of Barclay Street in Maplewood on the morning of Feb. 12 and found the girl, identified by her family as Genesis Xiong, unresponsive. As authorities tried to revive her, they noticed a large number of bruises on her chest, stomach and face. Meak said he had been watching the toddler for his girlfriend.
Meak told the court Tuesday that the beating occurred after Genesis threw CDs off a shelf in his living room. He said he grabbed her by the chest and squeezed with both hands "pretty hard" and threw her, causing her head to hit a wall. He also said he hit her in the stomach several times with a closed fist.
Meak said that he did not mean to kill the girl, but he agreed that he had used unreasonable force.
Meak, who is not a U.S. citizen, likely would face deportation after serving his sentence.
Prosecutors — who assert that the toddler was beaten over a long period of time — are seeking a sentence longer than what state sentencing guidelines call for.