But during a jail interview a few weeks after the girl's death, Phanhtharath told investigators that Mendez picked up the girl and slammed her to the floor so hard the back of her head bounced, a police detective testified at the couple's preliminary hearing in June.
Mendez then started punching and kicking the girl, the detective said the mother told him.
Phanhtharath told the detective she lied to cover up for Mendez, who she said beat her and the girl regularly.
The detective also testified that the state Department of Human Services was called twice to investigate reports of abuse by Phanhtharath, who has a son with Mendez.
A physician who treated Alexis testified she was covered with bruises and “clinically dead” with a massive skull fracture to the back of her head when she arrived at the emergency room.