Skip to main content

‘He heard God talking’: Texas dad who quit teaching job due to stress and drafted living will on cell phone charged in death of 3-month-old girl

Steven Maglitto

Steven Maglitto (L) in a photo provided by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office; (R), the crime scene (KTRK screengrab)

A husband, father, and veteran Texas teacher who said he recently quit due to the stress from the job faces serious allegations following the death of his 3-month-old daughter while his wife was at work. Court documents say that Steven Maglitto, 38, was holding the barely breathing victim in his arms when a deputy arrived on the tragic scene three weeks ago.

On April 27, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office posted about an incident at a home in Katy on Penmark Ln., in which M.M., a 3-month-old girl with apparent “severe trauma,” had to be taken “by Lifeflight in critical condition” to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. A short time later, worst fears about the baby’s chances of surviving her injuries were confirmed: “Sad update. The infant has been pronounced deceased at the hospital,” said the sheriff’s office.

The next day, authorities announced that the girl and her 4-year-old sibling had been under the care of her father.

“The 3-month-old infant sustained severe injuries and would later be pronounced deceased at the hospital. The 4-yr-old was unharmed,” the sheriff’s office noted. “The 4-yr-old has been temporarily placed with a relative. CPS is assisting.”

At the time, the sheriff’s office did not immediately name the suspect, citing a lack of charges amid ongoing “follow-up investigation.” That follow-up has led to this criminal case.

According to court documents, the defendant’s sister suspected something might be wrong when her brother sent a text saying the infant was not feeling well. When she went to check on the father and children after noon on April 27, however, nothing seemed amiss and the 3-month-old girl did not appear to be visibly injured.

Then Maglitto allegedly started talking about drafting a living will on his cell phone and got “upset” when his sister expressed concern that he was alone with two children ages 4 and younger.

“Witness #1 stated the Defendant became upset with her and started asking her why she was trying to take his kids from him. “Witness #1 stated she put the [victim] down in the crib and left the residence” to call the baby’s mother (the victim’s mother corroborated this detail, per the sheriff’s office).

More Law&Crime coverage: Texas mom confesses to ‘intentionally or knowingly’ murdering starved 1-year-old baby girl who died weighing less than at birth

The sheriff’s office was called to the scene later. The first responding deputy, who arrived on scene around 3:47 p.m. on April 27, saw “bruising on the ears, arms, and legs” of an infant who was “wet and cold to the touch.”

Maglitto “laid on the ground in a prone position and began to apologize and stated he does not remember what happened,” the complaint said.

“God will take care of it,” the suspect allegedly said, too.

According to the complaint, Maglitto “immediately stated” voluntarily that he was having a nervous breakdown, that he needed help, and that he had recently quit teaching after 10 years due to the stress of the job. Investigators said that Maglitto also claimed not to know what took place as he acknowledged partaking in a small amount of marijuana earlier in the day.

“The Defendant stated he can see things, heard God talking to him, and repeated the words ‘Trust God, everything will be okay,'” deputies said. “The Defendant told Affiant he does not know what happened to his daughter and that he took a small hit of marijuana earlier today.”

“The Defendant told Affiant he was stressed and the kids were ‘amazing today.’ The Defendant denied hurting the Complainant and that he was holding the Complainant but he does not know how the Complainant sustained the injuries,” court documents continued. “The Defendant requested Affiant provided him a psychiatric evaluation before telling what happened to the Complainant and then the Defendant requested the interview be terminated until he spoke to an attorney.”

The day after the baby died, the medical examiner found a skull fracture, hemorrhages, and brain swelling — a “constellation of injuries” deemed suspicious and the result of “non-accidental blunt force trauma.”

Maglitto’s sister left the residence when Maglitto accused her of “trying to take the kids away” but she contacted authorities that afternoon, according to the court documents.

According to the sheriff’s office, Maglitto said “he heard God talking to him, and repeated the words ‘Trust God, everything will be okay.'”

Harris County Jail records reviewed by Law&Crime show that the suspect was booked Monday morning for injury to a child, resulting in serious bodily injury. As of Tuesday morning, jail records said Maglitto remains in custody on a $200,000 bond and has a court date Wednesday.

Due to the nature of the allegations, the latest order to hit the docket identified Maglitto as a defendant who may have a mental illness or intellectual disability. The judge ordered an evaluation of the defendant and the production of a written report on information gleaned from the interview.

A LinkedIn profile for the defendant says that he worked for Harmony Public Schools as an English and social studies teacher.

“Stay at Home Dad” also appears under Maglitto’s listed job experience from 2016 and 2017.

Steven Maglitto's LinkedIn profile.

Steven Maglitto’s LinkedIn profile.

Maglitto, on being a stay-at-home parent: “One of the most rewarding times of of my life. I earned a new respect for people who are able to do this because it is a full time job. My son developed and I am grateful for the time I spent with him, but it is not for me.”

The suspect also worked as a paralegal over a six-year period, starting in 2007, the LinkedIn said.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.