Crime

Ceres man accused of killing daughter pleads not guilty

The Ceres man accused of sexually assaulting, murdering and burying his daughter pleaded not guilty in Stanislaus Superior Court on Monday morning.

Mark Edward Mesiti faces a charge of first degree murder as well as 44 counts of sexually abusing his daughter, 14-year-old Alycia Mesiti.

A special enhancement that would make Mesiti eligible for the death penalty also was added to the charges for committing murder before or during rape, sodomy, oral copulation or rape by an instrument, according to the criminal complaint.

However, prosecutors have made no decision on pursuing the death penalty, according to Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladagar.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for August 1 at 8:30 a.m.

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