Suffocated son: Cody Wygant, 24, after being arrested and taken to Citrus County Sheriff's Office in Inverness, Florida. Photo: Reuters
Cody Wygant was an avid player of video games like Aliens Extermination and Call of Duty. The role-playing games were so important that the persistent screams of his 16-month-old son was too much of an annoyance, according to the Citrus County sheriff's office in Florida.
So Wygant, an unemployed resident of Homosassa, Florida, about 144 kilometres west of Orlando, suffocated the boy and left him in a playpen, officials allege.
"It is inconceivable that a father could kill his infant son - it just baffles the mind," Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said in a statement.
Wygant, 24, was ordered held in lieu of $US100,000 ($107,204) bail on Friday on charges including third-degree murder, which is an unplanned killing, and child neglect with great bodily harm, sheriff's spokeswoman Heather Yates said. He faces more than 10 years in prison if convicted on the murder charge.
Wygant recently moved to Florida from California, where he had a rap sheet including charges varying from trespassing to sexual assault. He served two years in state prison for a charge of having unlawful sex with someone between 3 and 18 years of age, Yates said.
According to Yates, Wygant was living in a mobile home with four other adults and two children. The relationships among the people were still being investigated, she said.
In the early hours of Thursday, Wygant was playing Aliens Extermination on his X-box when his son Daymeon began crying, officials said. The game apparently requires the player to wear a headset.
Daymeon apparently was crying uncontrollably, Wygant told investigators later. According to the court affidavit filed in the case, Wygant said that about 1 am Thursday, he put his hand over the boy's mouth and nose for three to four minutes until the child appeared "exhausted" and "lethargic."
Wygant then put his son in a playpen and covered him from head to toe with several layers of bedding in such a way that the child was prevented from getting fresh air, investigators said in the affidavit.
Wygant told investigators he played video games and watched three episodes of the television show Fringe for about five hours before checking on the boy, who by then was blue and unresponsive.
Someone in the house called 911. The sheriff’s office responded and Wygant was taken into custody.
The medical examiner is conducting additional tests to determine the official cause and time of death, Yates said.
Wygant is the primary caregiver for the child, and the mother - Wygant's girlfriend - was not at home, officials said.
They also have a 3-month-old daughter, who is in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.
The Los Angeles Times