LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. -
It was somber and emotional gathering Tuesday night in Lake Isabella where about a hundred people came together to remember a 1-year-old girl who was murdered over the weekend.
Sophialynn Marie Taylor was allegedly killed at the hands of her mother's live-in boyfriend, Jared Ramirez.
On Jan. 12, Sophialynn was with Ramirez when she was found unresponsive and later died at the hospital.
The coroner's office said she died of blunt force trauma.
"Being a tight knit community such as this, they're extremely upset," said George Ripsom, a chaplain and U.S. Director of Healing Word International. "They feel it very personally. It's not only what the child went through, but everyone knows the parents. They know the people involved. It's very distressing for them all the way around."
Ramirez was in court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to second degree murder, assault and cruelty to a child.
Ramirez's attorney asked the judge to keep the media out of the courtroom because he said he wants him to have a fair trial.
"Sometimes jurors can be influenced by what they see on TV," said Clayton Campbell, Ramierz's attorney. "Of course the purpose of the news is to share information with the public, and there is of course an importance there, but sometimes that interest is not consistent with the defendant getting a fair trial. A jury can be influenced by the media coverage."
Sophialynn's mother, Amanda Reese, was initially taken into custody. She has since been released. Reese was at Tuesday's vigil, but was too distraught to talk.
Distress is something the chaplain will help Reese and the rest of the family work through.
"This is in fact a terrible, terrible situation and some people are going to suffer form post traumatic stress from it," said Ripsom. "We help with the debriefing and help them regain a new normalcy to their lives."
Ramirez will be back in court in March. His bail has raised to $2 million.