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Toddler murder suspect has criminal history in Northstate

Published On: Apr 18 2014 07:57:21 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 18 2014 08:40:24 PM CDT
REDDING, Calif. -

A Redding man facing murder charges in the death of his toddler son has an extensive criminal history in Shasta County.

24-year-old Cody Eugene Wygant was arrested Thursday at his home in Citrus County, Florida. Police in Florida said he confessed to suffocating his crying 16-month-old son, Daymeon Wygant, so he could continue playing video games.

Records with the Shasta County Recorder's office indicate the child was born in Redding.

Wygant is charged with third-degree murder and child neglect. He was being held Friday without bail at the Citrus County Jail.

He has no prior arrests in Citrus County but has a lengthy criminal record in the Northstate.

Wygant was convicted on several felony charges under the category of statutory rape, and was sentenced to prison time on those counts.

Criminal records from the Shasta County Courthouse show a case from 2009. Wygant was charged with one count of unlawful sexual intercourse and one count of oral copulation, both with a person under the age of 18. He was sentenced to eight months in prison.

Then in February 2010, there was another count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. He was sentenced to two years in prison for that case.

Wygant also had multiple misdemeanor charges for trespassing and for illegally altering an imitation firearm.

Numerous people who knew Wygant in Redding said he had a serious disregard for his child’s well-being.

16-month-old Daymeon Wygant was not breathing when emergency crews arrived at the home Thursday morning. The child was pronounced dead at a Florida hospital, investigators said.

A woman, who chose not to be identified, spent time with Cody and Daymeon at a Northstate homeless shelter. She said Cody “didn’t care about his son. He would cry and Cody would repeatedly stifle the child.” She said all he cared about was his video games.

Wygant said he was frustrated because the boy was crying uncontrollably, preventing him from playing his Xbox games, according to investigators. He covered the boy's nose and mouth for three to four minutes until he became lethargic, then placed him in a playpen and covered him with bedding, which was tucked around the boy's body and head, officials said.

The unnamed woman said she saw Wygant do this practice of putting his hand over the child's mouth on ten separate occasions.

Wygant did not check on Daymeon for five hours, investigators said, while he played Xbox and watched three episodes of the television show "Fringe." By the time he checked on the child, Daymeon had turned blue and was unresponsive, they said.

Sheriff's officials said Wygant moved to Florida in 2013 and has no family in the area except for his girlfriend. Her name was not released. They have a 3-month-old daughter, who is in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.