Man pleads not guilty to brutal murder of LA model found in fridge

Posted at 9:30 AM, February 23, 2024

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Minnesota man pleaded not guilty Thursday to killing a 31-year-old woman who was beaten, bound and stuffed inside the refrigerator at her Los Angeles apartment, authorities said.

Magnus Daniel Humphrey, who was on probation for narcotics offenses, was taken into custody at his home in Minneapolis on an unrelated federal warrant, the Los Angeles Police Department said Wednesday. Officials didn’t say what led homicide detectives to him.

street-side memorial for Maleesa Mooney

A street-side memorial for Maleesa Mooney, who was killed in her apartment, is displayed on Sept. 20, 2023, in downtown Los Angeles. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, a 41-year-old Minnesota man was arrested in connection with the September killing of Mooney, a model who was beaten, bound and stuffed inside the refrigerator of her downtown Los Angeles apartment, police say. (AP Photo/John Antczak)

Humphrey, 41, was extradited to California to face charges in the slaying of model Maleesa Mooney. He appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom and pleaded not guilty to murder and torture, according to a statement from the LA County District Attorney’s Office.

Officers found Mooney dead last Sept. 12 in downtown Los Angeles after her family asked for a welfare check because they hadn’t heard from her. Blood was pooling under the refrigerator and the body inside was bound with electrical cords and clothing, according to a coroner’s report obtained by ABC 7. A cloth gag was stuffed in her mouth.

The body had blunt force injuries and lacerations and the cause of death was determined to be “homicidal violence,” the coroner’s report said.

Investigators have not disclosed a possible motive. The district attorney’s statement said Humphrey had been staying at Mooney’s apartment, but did not say what their relationship was.

Humphrey was held without bail and ordered to appear for a preliminary hearing on March 7.

A lawyer for Humphrey couldn’t be located Thursday. The county public defender’s office didn’t immediately respond to an email inquiring if one of its attorneys was representing him.

More In: