A former NFL player accused of killing his girlfriend's 5-year-old daughter told police the child died during a grueling workout session to help her lose weight.
Cierre Wood, a former Notre Dame and NFL running back, faces a charge of first-degree murder in the death of La'Rayah Davis, who died last week from a cardiac arrest and internal injuries caused by multiple blunt force trauma.
In addition to the blunt force injuries, La'Rayah's liver was nearly split in half from blunt force trauma to her abdomen.
Wood, 28, told police La'Rayah was too "chunky" for her age. So he forced her to do wind sprints, sit ups and wall squats in their Las Vegas apartment.
La'Rayah collapsed last Tuesday during an intense round of sit ups.
Wood's girlfriend, Amy Taylor, was charged with child abuse and neglect for ignoring La'Rayah when she complained about chest pains shortly before she died.
Taylor, 25, allegedly sat on the child's chest and stomach as a form of punishment. She told police she was at the grocery store when La'Rayah died.
According to Fox Sports, Wood told police he spanked the girl for misbehaving, and when Taylor objected he turned to exercise as a form of punishment for the child. He called the workouts "learning through fun."
At a hearing on Thursday, a Las Vegas judge warned the courtroom about autopsy photos that showed the severity of La'Rayah's injuries.
"Once you've seen them, you can't ever unsee them," said Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson.
The autopsy found cracked ribs and severe injuries to La'Rayah's lungs and diaphragm, a dome shaped muscle that separates the lungs from the abdominal organs and assists in breathing.
La'Rayah's biological father, Danaun Davis, traveled from California to attend Thursday's hearing. "You purposely hurt my kid. I never thought I'd bury my child at 5 years old," Davis said, according to KMOV.
Wood maintained his innocence in court. Jail records show he is being held without bail.
The judge rejected Taylor's request for release on bail pending a May 21 preliminary hearing.
According to Fox Sports, Taylor cried as Wood stood shackled in the courtroom.
Wood played for NFL teams in Houston, New England and Buffalo before signing to the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian football League in 2017.