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    RUTLAND, Vt.

    Vermont man pleads not guilty in death of 2-year-old

    A 31-year-old Vermont man is denying a second-degree murder charge in the death of his 2-year-old stepdaughter. Dennis Duby, of Poultney, pleaded not guilty Monday and was held on $250,000 bail in the death of Dezirae Sheldon. Dezirae died Friday at a New Hampshire hospital two days after she was taken to a Rutland emergency room. Near the end of Monday’s hearing in Vermont Superior Court in Rutland, Dezirae’s mother charged the defense table screaming at Duby. Sheriff’s deputies stopped her. An autopsy determined that Dezirae died of head injuries. Duby told investigators Dezirae fell off a table, but a doctor told police it appeared “that someone held her head so tight her skull cracked.”