Minnesota Man Charged With Torture, Murder Of Los Angeles Model

The brutally beaten body of Maleesa Mooney, 31, was found bound, gagged and wedged into her refrigerator last September.

A Minnesota man has been arrested and charged with torture and murder in the gruesome killing of a 31-year-old model and real estate agent in Los Angeles who was brutally beaten, bound, gagged and stuffed into her own refrigerator last September, authorities said Thursday.

The body of Maleesa Mooney was discovered on Sept. 12, 2023, in her downtown apartment by police performing a welfare check after her family said they hadn’t heard from her, HuffPost previously reported.

The brutally beaten body of Maleesa Mooney was found bound and gagged and wedged into her refrigerator in September.
The brutally beaten body of Maleesa Mooney was found bound and gagged and wedged into her refrigerator in September.
Jourdin Pauline/Instagram

Magnus Humphrey, 41, was arrested in Minneapolis on an unrelated federal warrant on Nov. 3, the LAPD and district attorney said. He was extradited to LA and is currently being held without bail.

Humphrey pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Thursday.

“Ms. Mooney opened her home to this individual with trust, but was repaid with torture and murder,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said Thursday in a press release announcing the charges. “The heinous disregard for Ms. Mooney’s life will not go unpunished. Justice is being sought, and he will be held accountable.”

When they entered Mooney’s apartment last September, detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department found food on her kitchen counters and saw blood pooling under the refrigerator, according to the homicide investigator’s account included in the autopsy report obtained by HuffPost. Mooney’s body was inside the fridge, with her wrists and ankles bound and tied behind her back with electrical cords and clothing, according to the medical examiner. A cloth gag was stuffed in her mouth, and other clothes were found around her face and neck.

The cause of death was deemed to be “homicidal violence,” according to the autopsy report. The medical examiner said Mooney had suffered blunt force trauma and lacerations to her back, left arm, face and head. Toxicology tests detected cocaine and alcohol in her system, but given her severe injuries and evidence of a violent struggle, the role they “may have played in her death, if any, is uncertain,” the medical examiner said.

Authorities did not say what a motive might have been in the attack, or whether Mooney and Humphrey knew each other.

Mooney was last seen Sept. 6 on surveillance video in her apartment complex, according to investigators. On Sept. 7, investigators said an unknown man was seen on camera using Mooney’s key fob to use the elevator and carrying plastic bags to Mooney’s apartment.

Mooney’s sister, Jourdin Pauline, told People that Mooney’s laptop and other personal belongings were missing from her apartment, and that an unknown person tried to sell them Mooney’s phone. Authorities have not disclosed whether they found evidence of theft.

Pauline also told People that her sister was two months pregnant, which was not mentioned in the autopsy report or confirmed by authorities.

Pauline, a pop singer and songwriter, said on Instagram that her “heart is crushed” by the death of her only sister.

“I can’t believe you won’t be here with us anymore you were so loving and so kind to everyone … you’re the best thing to happen to almost everyones lives you touched!!!” Pauline wrote.

“The people you touched and loved will carry on for you and keep your name alive in the most beautiful and loving light,” she added.

A representative for Pauline declined to comment to HuffPost, saying that “Maleesa’s family is currently processing everything.”

“Even though she was taken in a vicious, senseless and heinous way we would like to remember Maleesa in all of the glorious ways God divinely made her to be,” said Angela Washington, a friend of Mooney’s mother, on a GoFundMe she organized to help the family with legal fees and to create a foundation in her memory.

“Maleesa was an extremely sweet and generous soul,” Washington wrote. “She saw the good in everyone and lit up every room she entered. Maleesa was just as smart as she was beautiful and had one of the most compassionate and giving hearts you’d ever meet.”

Humphrey is due in court for a preliminary hearing on March 7. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life without parole.

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