$1 million bond set in case of toddler's capital slaying

Charles Connetti III
Charles Connetti III

HANCOCK COUNTY -- A judge has set bond at $1 million for a man accused in the death of his girlfriend's toddler.

Justice Court Judge Desmond Hoda set the bond for 25-year-old Charles Connetti III after an initial court appearance late Tuesday.

Hoda also set April 26 as the date for a preliminary hearing on a capital murder charge.

Connetti is accused of causing traumatic head wounds that led to the death of 16-month-old Maddox Viergge just after midnight Saturday, two days after the alleged abuse occurred.

Sheriff's officers arrested Connetti in a traffic stop Tuesday. An arrest warrant ordered him held without bond pending a court hearing.

Sheriff's officials have said the boy and his mother had spent the night at the home Connetti shared with his parents, who thought of the child as their grandson.

First-responders were called to the home on Kiln Acres Drive on April 7, and said they found Maddox suffering from cerebral bleeding and hemorrhaging.

The child died at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans.

Investigators have said they believe the boy was in Connetti's care when the fatal wounds were inflicted.

An autopsy was performed Monday. The Mississippi Forensics Laboratory in Jackson has not yet provided a complete report on the autopsy, Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said Wednesday.

Sheriff's officials have said a Hancock County investigator attended the autopsy.

Felony child abuse is the underlying charge for capital murder, a killing that occurs during another felony act.

The maximum penalty for capital murder is death. Otherwise, it's punishable by life in prison without parole.

The Sun Herald has been unable to reach members of the child's family.