BOSTON (AP) — A Boston woman charged with beating her 3-year-old stepson so severely that he died days later has been held without bail.

Maria Buie (BYOO'-ee) pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court to second-degree murder in the death of Kenai Whyte.

Prosecutors say the 23-year-old Buie was the boy's sole caregiver when he was found unresponsive in his home in the city's Roxbury neighborhood the night of Jan. 31. He died of his injuries on Feb. 2. Prosecutors say he suffered a fractured vertebra, retinal bleeding, bruising, scratches and a laceration to his penis.

An autopsy concluded he died from blunt force trauma to the head and neck.

Buie's lawyer says his client denies inuring Kenai and loved the little boy as much as her own child.