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    Suspect in downtown LA model’s killing pleads not guilty
    • February 22, 2024

    LOS ANGELES — A 41-year-old Minnesota man charged with the killing of a model who was severely beaten, bound, gagged and stuffed inside the refrigerator of her downtown Los Angeles apartment pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of murder and torture.

    Magnus Daniel Humphrey was ordered to remain jailed without bail pending his next court appearance March 7, in connection with the September 2023 killing of Maleesa Mooney, 31.

    According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Humphrey, who was on probation for federal narcotics offenses, was arrested at his home in Minnesota on an unrelated federal warrant. He waived extradition proceedings and was brought back to Los Angeles, where he appeared in a downtown courtroom Thursday.

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    Arrest made in gruesome killing of downtown LA model

    Mooney, the sister of Guyanese pop singer Jourdin Pauline, was found dead in her apartment in the 200 block of South Figueroa Street around 3:55 p.m. Sept. 12.

    According to court records, Humphrey was charged on Dec. 6 with murder and torture, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The murder charge includes a special allegation of torture.

    No details were immediately released on what led investigators to Humphrey.

    “We are very pleased that an arrest was made,” a woman who said she was Mooney’s aunt told reporters outside the courthouse following Thursday’s hearing. “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.”

    According to an autopsy report, Mooney’s body showed evidence of blunt force trauma, including abrasions, lacerations and contusions around her head and neck, body and extremities.

    According to the Medical Examiner report, Mooney was last seen alive Sept. 6 on surveillance video at her apartment complex. Police went to her apartment Sept. 12 in response to a call from her mother requesting a welfare check.

    Responding officers “found Ms. Mooney’s body wedged inside the refrigerator” with blood on the floor outside of it, according to the autopsy report.

    The woman’s wrists and ankles were bound, “and these bindings were tied to each other behind her back with miscellaneous electronic cords and clothing items. Additional clothing items were found around her face and neck. An apparent gag, fashioned out of an article of clothing, was stuffed in her mouth,” according to the report.

    The Medical Examiner’s report noted that toxicology testing found evidence of recent cocaine use.

    The report noted that the blunt force trauma injuries she suffered “are generally not considered acutely life threatening on their own.”

    “However, based on the circumstances of how Ms. Mooney was found, these injuries suggest she was likely involved in (a) violent physical altercation prior to her death,” according to the report.

    The report notes that suffocation may have played a role in her death, and the role that alcohol or drugs may have played “is uncertain.”

    The report concluded by labeling the death a homicide, caused by “homicidal violence.”

    Jourdin Pauline posted a tribute to her sibling on Instagram following her death.

    “My heart is crushed, I can’t believe you won’t be here with us anymore. You were so loving and so kind to everyone. You made sure if you ate everyone around you was too. You opened your arms to people who didn’t deserve you as a friend. You’re the best thing to happen to almost everyone’s lives you touched!!!”

    She added, “The reason I’m me is because of you!!! … My first best friend the one who taught me everything I know!!!!! How is this even possible you won’t be here. … This feels so surreal. I keep waking up crying thinking I’m in a bad dream. We will get justice for you my sister. I promise you won’t be gone in vain!!!”

    Mooney’s family indicated in early October that Mooney was two months pregnant when she died. However, the autopsy report made no mention of pregnancy.

    The report noted that while Mooney was last seen alive Sept. 6, surveillance video from the apartment building showed an unidentified male using her key FOB to use the building’s elevator, then carrying plastic bags to her apartment.

    Mooney’s body was found two days after another model, 32-year-old Nichole Coats, was found dead inside a downtown apartment less than three miles away. Police eventually determined the deaths were not related, and the Medical Examiner later ruled Coats’ death an accident due to “cocaine and ethanol toxicity.”

    ​ Orange County Register