South Milwaukee couple charged in connection to 4-year-old child's death plead not guilty

NOW: South Milwaukee couple charged in connection to 4-year-old child’s death plead not guilty

MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A man and his girlfriend, who are charged in the death of her 4-year-old daughter, appeared in court Wednesday, March 11. The couple both pleaded not guilty in court, and waived their preliminary hearings. 

Jerome Millen, 22, is charged with one felony count of physical abuse of a child, repeated acts causing death. 

Christine Collado, 21, is charged with felony chronic neglect of a child. 

According to the criminal complaint, when first responders got to their South Milwaukee home on Feb. 28, 4-year-old Autumn Horak had bruises and bite marks all over her body, and she did not have a pulse. 

Officials say Millen admitted to holding a pillow over the child's face to get her to go to sleep and holding her head under water so she could, "learn how to hold her breath." 

The court commissioner reminded both defendants about what it means to waive their preliminary hearings. 

When Court Commissioner Barry Phillips asked, "Did you understand that if you had a hearing the state would have to produce witnesses and perhaps other evidence to show that you probably committed a felony? Did you also understand by waiving that hearing you are conceding that the state can establish probable cause and you will be ordered to stand trial?" Collado responded, "Yes."

If convicted, Millen could spend life behind bars. Collado could spend up to 60 years behind bars if convicted. 

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