Man pleads not guilty in Big Island toddler death

Xavier "Pee Wee" Cortez Jr.
Xavier "Pee Wee" Cortez Jr.

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A former professional boxer has been indicted by a Hilo grand jury in the 2011 beating death of a toddler.

Trial for Xavier "Pee Wee" Cortez Jr. has been scheduled for June 2. He is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 18-month-old Pomaikai Ferreira.

Pomaikai was taken to Hilo Medical Center on Jan. 2, 2011 with breathing difficulties. She was transferred to Honolulu's Queen's Medical Center, where she died.

An autopsy showed injuries due to repetitive abusive head trauma.

At the time, Cortez was living with the girl's mother. He was initially arrested but later released pending further investigation.

Police say a tip led to his arrest on Tuesday. Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports he's being held on $1 million bail and has pleaded not guilty.

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