Minnesota man charged in gruesome murder of LA model makes 1st court appearance

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Friday, February 23, 2024
Man charged in gruesome murder of LA model makes 1st court appearance
A Minnesota man charged in the murder of L.A. model Maleesa Mooney, who was found stuffed inside her refrigerator, made his first court appearance and pleaded not guilty to charges he's facing.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Minnesota man accused in the gruesome torture and murder of 31-year-old Los Angeles model Maleesa Mooney made his first court appearance Thursday and pleaded not guilty.

Magnus Daniel Humphrey, 41, was extradited to L.A. to face charges stemming from the killing. He pleaded not guilty to murder and torture in a downtown courtroom, according to the L.A. County District Attorney's Office.

Mooney was beaten, bound and found stuffed inside the refrigerator at her downtown L.A. apartment in the 200 block of South Figueroa Street. The grim discovery was made Sept. 12 when police arrived at the apartment following a request for a welfare check from family.

Mooney suffered blunt force trauma, her wrists and ankles were bound behind her back with electrical cords and clothing, according to the L.A. County coroner's report. A gag made from clothing was stuffed in her mouth and other items were covering her head. Blood was pooling under the refrigerator.

"We are very pleased that an arrest was made," Heather Hammock, Mooney's aunt, said outside the courthouse. "We're full of so many different emotions. We are very grateful and thankful that he was caught. Please continue to pray for our family. We just want justice for my niece."

Investigators have not disclosed a possible motive or what led them to Humphrey. The district attorney's statement said Humphrey had been staying at Mooney's apartment, but did not say what their relationship was.

photo of Los Angeles model Maleesa Mooney and murder suspect Magnus Daniel Humphrey
Photo shows Los Angeles model Maleesa Mooney (left) and the man suspected of killing her, Magnus Daniel Humphrey, in court (right).

"Ms. Mooney opened her home to this individual with trust, but was repaid with torture and murder. The heinous disregard for Ms. Mooney's life will not go unpunished. Justice is being sought, and he will be held accountable," L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.

Mooney's family says they don't know Humphrey and have no information on whether he knew Maleesa.

Humphrey was held without bail and ordered to appear for a preliminary hearing on March 7.

Humphrey, who was on probation for narcotics offenses and has a lengthy criminal record, was arrested at his home in Minnesota on an unrelated federal warrant, the LAPD said Wednesday when the agency announced his arrest.

Mooney's family is asking for privacy and prayers.

"She was an amazing, beautiful princess and we miss her very much, "Mooney's sister Jourdin Pauline told reporters. "She loved her family."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.