COLORADO SPRINGS – The man accused of murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his now ex-girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter will go on trial in May. 28-year-old David Lake pleaded not guilty to all charges Thursday morning in an El Paso County Courtroom.
News5 briefly spoke with Bella Ritch’s family following the hearing. They expressed frustration in the progress of the case, stating their wish that Lake would have pleaded guilty.
He’s expected back in court in April for pre-trial conferences before the May trial which could last three weeks.
The toddler died after she was hospitalized on October 2, 2017. Police responded to an unresponsive child at a home in the 3700 block of Ensenada Drive. In court documents, detectives detailed how Bella was found covered in bruises and had been vomiting for several days before she was taken to the hospital.
According to the affidavit, in a follow-up interview, the doctor who operated on Bella is quoted as telling detectives, “This is the worst injury I’ve seen caused by a person.”
Another doctor is quoted as saying the injury was consistent with, “definite child abuse.” Bella suffered bruising to her head, chest, neck, stomach, thighs and legs. The coroner determined she died as a result of blunt force trauma.
David Lake was arrested 6 months later on a charge of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.