A Hancock County grand jury indicted a Kiln man Friday on a charge of capital murder in the death of his girlfriend’s toddler.
The grand jury returned the true bill against Charles Connetti III, who is accused of causing fatal head wounds to 16-month-old Maddox Viergge.
Capital murder is a killing committed during the act of another felony crime, which in this case is felony child abuse, said Hancock County sheriff’s officials. It is punishable by death or life in prison without parole.
On March 31, 2016, first responders arrived at the Connettis’ home on Kiln Acres Drive, north of Kiln-Picayune Road, where they found Maddox suffering from bleeding and hemorrhaging to his brain.
The toddler and his mother had spent the night at the home Connetti shared with his parents, who thought of the child as their grandson, sheriff’s Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan told the Sun Herald in 2016.
Medical personnel believed the child had suffered traumatic head injuries and had difficulty breathing because of blood in his lungs, Grannan said.
Maddox was taken to Hancock Medical Center in Bay St. Louis and later flown to Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans. The child died April 3.
Deputies began looking for Connetti the next day as a person of interest in the child’s death.
“The medical evidence points to abuse as the cause of his injuries,” Grannan said at the time. “There is no other medical explanation to explain what happened other than somebody causing head trauma. All we can do is to isolate what took place, a time frame, and we know the baby had been in Mr. Connetti’s care.”
A deputy pulled over Connetti early April 5, and he was booked at the Hancock County jail about 1 a.m.