HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Bond has been set at $1 million for a Hancock County man accused of Capital Murder in the death of a 16-month old infant.
26-year-old Charles Connetti III was charged Tuesday morning with the murder of toddler Maddox Vieregge .
Sheriff's investigators say Connetti is the boyfriend of the infant's mother. His family members say he is not a murderer.
"I wish I knew what happened. I wish I could tell everybody what happened but I do know my son didn't do this to no one. My son wouldn't, he loved that child," said Kiln resident Carmen Connetti.
Carmen says her son is innocent of the capital murder charges he's now faces. She says Connetti, known to most as Woo Woo, treated 16-month old Maddox Vieregge like his own child.
She says the day the infant sustained the deadly injuries he had fallen out of the bed twice. The first time when he first woke up, and the second time when he and her other grandchildren were jumping on the bed.
"He said his back was turned when he heard the baby fall and the baby busted out crying. He said, 'damn Lauren what happened?'" explained Carmen.
She believes the baby hit his head on a metal lock-box that is stored next to the bed. But sheriff's officials say the evidence collected at the scene doesn't support that theory.
"Very inconsistent with that happening," said Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam.
Family members say Connetti took the baby outside to calm him down from the falls he had taken while the baby's mother watched them from a bedroom window.
"She was out there talking to Woo Woo through the window when he was out there with the baby. If he was abusing the child don't you think we would have heard the child screaming?. It just doesn't make no sense," said Carmen.
Sheriff Adam said, "We believe Mr. Connetti was in charge and had control of the baby and when he brought it back it wasn't in the same condition as when he left with it."
Family members remain in disbelief.
"I don't expect someone who doesn't know him all their lives as we do to just take our word for it. I have known him for 25 years, I've watched him with my own 14-year-old daughter when she was an infant," said Lisa Pierce, Connetti's sister-in-law.
Connetti is expected to return to court for a preliminary hearing on April 26.