A 24-year-old Homosassa man was charged Thursday with suffocating his 1-year-old son because he wanted to have time to play video games, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office said.
Cody Wygant was charged with third-degree murder and willful child neglect, the sheriff’s office said.
Wygant was being held in the Citrus County Jail.
A judge on Friday set bail for Wygant at $100,000 with his next court date scheduled for May 23.
Citrus County Fire Rescue responded to Wygant’s home after receiving an emergency call at 8:21 a.m. Thursday that the child, Daymeon Wygant, wasn’t breathing.
Daymeon was transported to Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, the sheriff’s office said.
During an interview with investigators, Wygant confessed that he suffocated his son to be able to play video games, the sheriff’s office said.
At about 1 a.m. Thursday, Wygant placed his hand over Daymeon’s mouth and nose for three to four minutes. He told investigators that his son became lethargic and appeared exhausted. He placed him in the playpen covering him with multiple layers of bedding, the sheriff’s office said.
Daymeon’s entire body was covered, including his head. The bedding was tucked under the boy in a manner that prevented the boy from receiving fresh air, the sheriff’s office said.
Wygant told investigators that he was frustrated that Daymeon was crying uncontrollably and preventing him from playing Xbox games, the sheriff’s office said.
Wygant then played Xbox for an hour and a half and watched three episodes of the television show “Fringe,” the sheriff’s office said.
He didn’t check on his son for five hours. When he finally checked on Daymeon, he discovered him blue and not breathing, the sheriff’s office said. The boy wouldn’t respond to rescue efforts by his father, the sheriff’s office said.
When investigators arrived at the scene, Wygant and his girlfriend, the boy’s mother, told investigators that the boy was placed in the playpen at 7 a.m. When they checked on him at 8:15 a.m., they saw that he wasn’t breathing and called 911, the sheriff’s office said.
Wygant told investigators that he was the only person with his son between 1 and 8:15 a.m. Thursday. He also told investigators that he was the primary caregiver for the child, the sheriff’s office said.
The Citrus County Medical Examiner’s Office has completed an autopsy on the boy, but hasn’t released the cause of death, the sheriff’s office said.
Wygant had never been arrested in Citrus County. He moved to Florida in January. He has no job or family in the state.
He lived with his girlfriend, and besides Daymeon have a 3-month-old daughter, who after Wygant’s arrest was placed in the custody of the Department of Children & Families, the sheriff’s office said.
Wygant was born and raised in California, where he has an extensive criminal record that includes trespassing and rape, the sheriff’s office said.