William McCullen pleaded not guilty to his murder charges on Thursday - and he learned prosecutors will not be seeking the death penalty.
McCullen was dating Jordyn Dumont's mother when Jordyn was killed.
Police said he initially reported her missing on August 15 - saying he had fallen asleep and that Jordyn had gone missing. Her remains were found the very next day.
An autopsy report released earlier this month revealed that Jordyn died from abdominal blunt force injuries and assault. The report said she was found wrapped in a black sheet in a hole underneath several broken tree limbs and dry leaves.
When her body was found she was wearing a long sleeve shirt with the words "Best Big Sister' and she had several contusions to the abdomen, arms, and legs. She also had vomit in her nose and mouth.
The Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services also announced they have made five unannounced visits to Dumont's home between March and May of 2016 for "suspected neglect due to improper supervision and substance abuse."
Prosecutors said they will be seeking life in prison for McCullen. He is being held on a $2 million bond and his next court date is in January.