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Man sentenced to 31 years to life in prison in stabbing of young niece

A Compton man who fatally stabbed his 5-year-old niece and hid the knife under his bed was sentenced Thursday to 31 years to life in prison, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Julian Carter, a 29-year-old black man, was convicted of second-degree murder Feb. 20. Prosecutors said that on June 13, 2010, Carter stabbed Mireya McCall in the throat, then placed her body in clothing and stuffed it into the closet of the family’s Compton home.

Mireya's mother realized she was gone and called authorities. Soon after, deputies found Carter in the street and arrested him in connection with the girl's death.

Neighbors told The Times in 2010 that they thought Carter’s behavior had become increasingly bizarre around the time of the incident. Some thought he was into heavy drugs and described him as a “zombie-like” figure in the neighborhood.

Carter was seen dancing in the middle of the street before dawn and late into the afternoon. Sometimes he danced when it rained. Barbara Jones, who lived next door, said Carter developed a hard stare.

“He looked at you like he wanted to kill you,” she told The Times. “Like he hated you.”

During the sanity phase of the trial, jurors found that Carter was sane when the attack occurred, prosecutors said.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

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