By Associated Press - Thursday, March 12, 2020

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Bail was set Thursday at $1 million for a clergyman charged in the death of his 6-month-old niece.

The Rev. Ronnie Nelson Jr., 33, of Toledo, is charged with aggravated murder. He did not speak during the brief hearing held in Toledo Municipal Court, and a preliminary hearing in the case was scheduled for March 19.

Nelson was babysitting the child, Ava Pope, on Monday at a unit in the Willowbrook Place mobile home park where the child’s family lives, authorities said. He allegedly shook and seriously injured the child before calling 911.

The girl was unresponsive when emergency responders arrived, and she was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital. An autopsy determined she died of abusive head trauma.

Nelson is an executive pastor and first assistant at Greater New Psalmist Church in Toledo. His wife declined comment after the hearing, and it wasn’t clear if he’s retained an attorney.

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