Dallas man charged in death of toddler; may have injured second child

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by MARJORIE OWENS and REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on June 4, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 4 at 6:31 PM

DALLAS — A 27-year-old man was arrested and charged with injury to a child in the death of a 14-month-old boy in Dallas and may face more charges in the case of a second injured child.

Maj. Rob Sherwin announced the news during a Dallas police conference Wednesday morning.

According to Sherwin, Clezel Mughni lived in an apartment with his fiancée, the two toddlers and their mother, 25-year-old Claudia Johnson. A second woman and her 4-year-old son also live at the apartment.

Police were first alerted to the case after 14-month-old Marquis Johnson died from blunt force trauma. Sherwin said the boy suffered injuries to his face and bruises were visible on his back and stomach.

Willie Johnson, no relation, heard screaming and then saw paramedics trying to save the little boy's life.

"I saw the baby was not breathing and saw them do CPR on him," Willie Johnson said.

Ceketha Wade saw Mughni when he ran out of the apartment with the child.

"I asked him what was wrong, and he was like, 'My baby dead, my baby dead,'" Wade said.

While police investigated Marquis Johnson's death, his sister was taken to the hospital after she fell ill. Doctors discovered she suffered an abdominal injury and blunt force trauma. She underwent surgery and remains at Children's Medical Center.

Meghni is 6-foot-1 and weighs 325 pounds.

“The witnesses all report that they've observed the suspect on numerous occasions punch and spank them," said Major Rob Sherwin.

The children's mother was living with Mughni and his fiancée after being evicted. The fiancé asked we not identify her, but talked to News 8 and said the mother was as much to blame.

“Her daughter had been sick for days and never took her to doctor, and son sick, too, and didn't take him to doctor," the woman said.

We asked her why she didn't get help for the children.

"I work 10- and 12-hour days, I don't know what's happening when I'm not there,” she said.

CPS tells us the mother had been investigated twice before for neglect, but was cleared.

Now Dallas police have the case. They have not ruled out charges against the mother and other adults who may have witnessed the abuse and did nothing.

"The investigation continues on the second charge, the 2-year-old," Sherwin said. "And then our other witness is going to be held responsible for this."

Mughni was charged with injury to a child in the death of Marquis and his bond was set at $500,000.

Two other children in the apartment are in CPS custody while the agency determines what will happen to them.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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