MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A man suspected of killing an 8-year-old girl earlier this year in Merced pled not guilty to the charges in court on Wednesday morning.

34-year-old Dhante Jackson pled not guilty to charges of suspicion of murder and child abuse in connection to the death of 8-year-old Sophia Mason.

While in court, Jackson also asked if he could be put into a one-man cell, but the judge said the decision was up to the jail.

Officials with the Merced Police Department Jackson said is accused of Mason and leaving her body in a bathtub at his home for a month.

(Picture Courtesy Merced Police)

Mason’s body was discovered on March 11 after she was reported missing to the Hayward Police Department the month prior.

Investigators said Mason’s mother, Samantha Johnson, led them to the home where her young daughter was found dead and was arrested soon after.

Johnson also pled not guilty to the same charges Jackson is facing through her attorney in court last week.

A preliminary hearing for Jackson has been set for November 2.