VERONA – A Verona child who police say was severely beaten in

VERONA – A Verona child who police say was severely beaten in his home last week by his mother’s boyfriend has died.

Two-year-old Zaccheaus Loving died Sunday at Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis. He would have turned 3 next month.

Charges against Mario McGaughy, 22, of Verona have been upgraded from felony child abuse to capital murder.

Capital murder is a charge that is normally given when a person is killed in the commission of another crime such as a robbery. But Verona Police Chief Buddy Huckaby said there is a special provision within the charge of felony child abuse that allows a person to be charged with capital murder if the child dies as a result of the abuse.

A bond of $300,000 was set Monday for McGaughy. He was transported Monday from the Verona City Jail to the Lee County Jail where felonious offenders are usually held.

The incident occurred Thursday night at the child’s home. McGaughy, who was dating the child’s mother, was babysitting the child while the mother was at work, said Verona Police Chief Buddy Huckaby.

When the mother returned home about 7 a.m. Friday, she noticed bruises on her son, and the child was taken to North Mississippi Medical Center, Huckaby said. The child was later airlifted to the Memphis hospital.

-Cynthia M. Jeffries

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