Lonnie Jay Belt pleaded not guilty to the murder and kidnapping of a five-year-old boy yesterday in Jackson County District Court in Kentucky
The man accused of killing a 5-year-old Kentucky boy after throwing his mother from a cliff has pleaded not guilty to murder yesterday.
Lonnie Jay Belt appeared in Jackson County District Court on Monday to answer to the charge in the death of James Spoonamore.
An arrest citation says Belt admitted to taking Jessica Durham and her son against their will. He had told police he took them to a secluded wooded area. Police say he then beat Durham and pushed her off a cliff, but she survived.
The citation also stated Belt admitted to bringing the boy to a different area and struck the child in the head several times with a metal object.
But Belt pleaded not guilty last week to the charges of kidnapping, assault and tampering with evidence related to an attack on the boy’s mother.
The boy’s body was found about a half-mile from where his mother was found by hikers.
James Spoonemore, 5, was found dead by being bludgeoned in the head repeatedly
Spoonemore is pictured with his mom, Jessica Durham, who was kidnapped along with her son, assaulted and pushed off a cliff
Though Durham survived the attack the family says she is currently in critical condition at UK Chandler Medical Center.
Durham’s sister-in-law, Jessica Odell, said her brother became worried about his wife and stepson when he came home and they were both gone.
‘Her cell phone and everything was at home and it’s not usual for her to leave her things at home. He was worried,’ Odell told WYMT. ‘We tried to keep faith that he would be okay and that they would find him okay. It was scary because we were thinking if this man would be so bad to do this to her, he would definitely harm him.’
Odell said described the five year old as ‘the happiest bay you could ever meet’ and says she’s devastated by the news.
Police charged Belt with murder after finding Spoonamore’s body last week. They also charged him with assault, two counts of kidnapping, and evidence tampering for an attack on the boy’s mother.
Belt has another preliminary court hearing set for Sept. 25.
Jessica survived but is in critical condition. She is pictured with her husband and son
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