Man pleads not guilty to killing girlfriend’s baby

After several arraignment delays, Matthew Worthen (inset) appeared in an Antelope Valley courtroom Tuesday (Dec. 17), where a pleaded not guilty to murdering his girlfriend’s daughter, 2-year-old Zanai Noel.

After several arraignment delays, Matthew Worthen (inset) appeared in an Antelope Valley courtroom Tuesday (Dec. 17), where a pleaded not guilty to murdering his girlfriend’s daughter, 2-year-old Zanai Noel.

LANCASTER – A 23-year-old man accused of beating to death his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter in September has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Matthew Worthen entered the plea Tuesday (Dec. 17) in an Antelope Valley courtroom, where he was arraigned for murder and assault on a child causing death, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

Two-year-old Zanai Noel had rib fractures, hemorrhages, a collapsed lung, internal bleeding and a pulverized liver when Worthen and the child’s mother brought her to Palmdale Regional Medical Center around 9:25 p.m. on September 22, according to detectives. The toddler was pronounced dead an hour later.

Zanai’s mother told detectives she left the child with Worthen for a few minutes while she went to the store. The fatal beating occurred during that time, detectives allege.

Worthen was arrested on Sept. 26, after a coroner’s autopsy report confirmed Zanai’s cause of death.

Zanai’s mother has not been charged in the case.

A preliminary hearing for Worthen is scheduled for January 28, 2014. At the conclusion of that hearing, a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence against Worthen to take the case to trial.

Worthen remains jailed on 1,020,000 bail.

Previous related story: Palmdale toddler beaten to death

  34 comments for “Man pleads not guilty to killing girlfriend’s baby

  1. Anonymous
    February 21, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Both mother n boyfriend should equally be charged n persecuted for this! Mother should get life n boyfriend should get death in the same manner! Monsters is what they r. Go to the store for more alcohol is what she stated first, r u kidding me n dcfs jus gonna let that go?? Wow! My heart goes out to Zanais extended family now shes in a better place safe n sound! My prayers……
    Have no mercy on their souls lord for only the wrath of u Jesus will cometh justice for all and eternal fire will burn through their internal spirit to never be risen again! Lightning bolts come down from the heavens n strike each child predator down, they dont deserve to walk this earth! May this child rest in dear peace

  2. Empathy
    January 5, 2014 at 12:30 am

    What the [removed] is wrong with these sick bastards. My prayers go out to the family of the beautiful little girl. My family delt with the same tragedy almost 4 years ago. May those scumbags rot in hell.
    Justice for Jayanna!

    • smh how could he
      January 7, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      My prayers are with you as well as the family currently going through this crazy situation, I just don’t understand how a small child/baby can end up being killed because he/she cried to much this is senseless, anyone who could kill a child is pure evil in my eyes. I know your family went through this 4 yrs ago but I’m sure it still weighs heavy on your heart as if it were yesterday. just know these babies are in a better place now

    • BrendaB
      January 10, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      Just read the article of your family member,, my condolences and prayers go out to you and your family! May these beautiful little princesses rip. Justice for Zanai! Justice for Jayanna! And justice for all the little souls that are lost because of sick mofos that inhabit this earth!!!

  3. C.D
    December 23, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    I worked with this individual for several years in the SF Valley. He was an EMT…..a pathetic one at that. He was truly the scum of the earth. Once we all heard about this story, we all just kind of looked at each other and said “It was only a matter of time before he did something to seriously injure someone”. He was reckless, careless, a criminal, and a miserable human being. It is our sincere hope that he gets whats is really coming to him in prison. I KNOW THIS PERSON…..and sadly…….there is NO DOUBT in my mind he is guilty. Just another scumbag that should have been put away a long time ago. Let justice prevail.

  4. Jk
    December 19, 2013 at 1:12 am

    I beleive any Mother with children who knows they are in DV relationship and contiune to go back with their abuser are failing to protect their Child not just Physcial but mentally as well. The Mother failed to protect her child Point blank period! I don’t think she deserves to be charged remember she is still a victim.. and in most Dv cases it takes up to 10-25 years to leave. Its sad that this beautiful lil girl had to go she didn’t deserve this. Now the Mother has to live with this on her conscience for the rest of her life. She’s suffering enough.. this man she thought she Loved took something special from her. Yes she failed to protect but its not her fault. She didn’t know this would happen she’s a victim of Domestic violence but don’t get me wrong her daughter comes first and has been the victim before she died.Im not giving Mother any excuse but have any of you walked in a battered womens shoes before? its not that easy…its hard.

    • Puddin
      December 19, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Yes and after I had kids, I did it moving. My children Puddinare grown and older now a nd I did not bring men around my children, point blank if I needed some affection if they didn’t have their own by here was always the hotel. I never brought stray men around because you never know what their mental was. Everybody who’s not with the kids father should love their child enough to give them that much respect. Smh

    • Unknown
      January 4, 2014 at 9:19 pm

      Jk? I honestly think the mother got way more then her daughter “Zanai Noel” never got a “LIFETIME”

    • nj
      January 11, 2014 at 2:54 am

      there is no excuse you protect your child that’s a mother’s job she knew what would happen if that child received the same kind of beating she did. She is at fault she chose to leave that child with him and already knew that he has been beaten on that child who knows maybe he was trying to molest her and believe me mothers know and if they don’t then they shouldn’t be a mother.

  5. Unknown
    December 18, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    The mother should have NEVER left her daughter with someone who has a history of domestic violence. But it doesn’t dismiss the truth of who is a “really” guilty. The verse that was posted can not be any more right. The truth will come to light! Both the mom and Matthew deserve some type of disciplinary action. One more than the other.

  6. Tomas
    December 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Matt aint done dis the say.. he wont there . That thing call a mom puuting up the finger to my boy. No way this man did awfull things to no kid god noes the truth you wil sufer for not bringing in the real

    • Unknown
      December 18, 2013 at 10:58 pm

      Tomas, God does know the truth. But the only one who will suffer is the GUILTY one! This is a serious issue! Its almost a threat, saying someone more than the guilty one will suffer. There’s no need for any more pain.

    • brenda ward
      December 19, 2013 at 10:14 am

      you are a sick person to defend this monster, only he knows what he done, he has to answer to god and you too.

      • Mike
        December 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm

        As you said only God and himself know what happen. So You have no right calling this Man a monster. In the United States everyone is innocent till proven guilty. So as for now not knowing what happen he is no monster.

        • unknown
          December 23, 2013 at 8:12 am

          And we all know that he is guilty, did this little baby do all that [removed] to herself? No and if that MONSTER was the only one there at the time I mean let’s just say he beat her to death like he tried to do his girlfriend several times before

        • Lee
          January 24, 2014 at 10:18 am

          Only the truly innocent are innocent, the guilty that are truly guilty plea “not guilty” and get a PD to create a rotten childhood to try to get them off……these loser child killers deserve DEATH not 25 to life…..

      • sugarfree247.
        December 22, 2013 at 6:32 pm

        You people need to get your facts straight. The Mother is the Main 1 who was abusing her. And is currently being investigated. I know this as well as Zaniah’s dad.The only thing we don’t know is if he participated in it too.

    • Unknown
      January 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      Thomas? What about “Zanai Noel’s” PAIN??? Anymore pain my Ass sounds like another coward defending a coward, Loll!!! “GOOD-LUCK” I do know this “YOU DO NOT MESS WITH OUR LORD’S BABIES” and that’s were you and this demonic coward need to focus on, The Truth? I would never ever defend my own children if their children knowingly were in evil way, PERIOD!!!

  7. neverknow
    December 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Never know what happened the mom could of beat the girl and left you dont know whst really happen she never was a good mom to she never was a good mom from jump street so they need to check up on her you never know but God will win at the end

  8. Unknown
    December 18, 2013 at 7:55 am

    My heart is hurting right now. I’m no one to judge, only GOD can do that. But 2 + 2 is definitely NOT equalling 4. What more evidence needs to be determined, was the mom involved, what is Matthews side, these are all questions we ask. Just know what happens in the dark ALWAYS comes to the light. It’s just a matter of time.

  9. xoxo
    December 18, 2013 at 7:05 am

    what EVER happen to there are TWO sides to the story, all we’ve heard is the mothers side. Now, Matt has a chance to tell his side of the story and he says NOT guilty ! The Truth will come out ! Don’t always believe what you hear! Innocent until proven guilty !

    • moca
      December 18, 2013 at 7:28 am

      I love your comment there is two sides too every story.. And ‘what is done in the dark shall come 2 the light’.. I love that passage rite there. Hear his side and consider all the evidence..

      • nj
        January 11, 2014 at 3:14 am

        One side is dead how u figure u will never know that childs story……

  10. NRA member
    December 18, 2013 at 6:26 am

    Not guilty?? Even if you did not do it directly, you are responsible for this child once you agreed to look after the kid.. In any event happening, you must sacrifice your own life to protect the kid. And if you failed to do so – you are as guilty as it gets!

    • Puddin
      December 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm

      Not necessarily, my friend was set up like that. She agreed to babysit an infant for someone, age they left she went to feed the baby a bottle and noticed the breathing was labored, she immediately called the paramedics. Come to find out the baby had been beaten and shook up. It died and after a whole day at the police station the doctors determined the bruising was not all new and released her, but when she got home every news station and people were outside here home calling her a baby killer now that hurts I felt sorry for her. Because She wasa licensed day care person. I’m not gone lie when it first happened I even raised my eyebrows.

    • DAD
      December 21, 2013 at 11:39 pm


      Good voice!
      Thank you!


  11. chrlrss
    December 18, 2013 at 4:38 am

    The mother isn’t charged? It is the “mother” that always brings these low lives into their homes around the children. They need to be held accountable for the environment they put them in.
    More & more stories about these idiots more worried about having a man in their bed then protecting their babies.

    • Bob
      December 18, 2013 at 10:19 am

      chrlss-you are 100% right on the money.

      • tamara
        December 18, 2013 at 9:03 pm

        Chris, you ain’t never lied.This is happening way to much.
        I would not let some people watch my dog and these girls
        have any and everyone around their children. Fricken SAD!!!

  12. unknown
    December 18, 2013 at 4:36 am

    So if you were the only one there when she was beaten to death how are you not guilty? There’s no way a 2year old could’ve done this to herself.  rib fractures, hemorrhages, a collapsed lung, internal bleeding and a pulverized liver he’s a monster he needs to die in jail for what he did to that baby how could anyone do something like this to a baby? This is so sad I pray there will be justice for that little angel. she won’t have to suffer no more she’s in a much better place

  13. kj
    December 18, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Not guilty smh matt how could bro I knew u had issues but dang sh was a bby

  14. Brian E.
    December 17, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    This makes me sick. What kind of person can do something like that to a child? What maternal instincts allows a person like this in the home?

  15. sikntired
    December 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Pulverized liver- he must have used her like a punching bag.Women,how friggin bad do you need a man to allow this treatment to your babies and yourselves ? Get some self respect for God’s sake. He should be put in a room with one of those Pit bulls from Lake L.A.

  16. Av4u
    December 17, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Omg wtf do you mean??? What more evidence do they need?? Unbelievable geezzz !!

Comments are closed.