JACKSON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) – A detective with Kentucky State Police testified in court on Monday about their case against a man accused of murdering a five-year-old boy.
Kentucky State Police charged Lonnie Belt with the killing of five-year-old James Spoonamore. Police found the boy’s body a few days after hikers came across his severely beaten mother over a cliff.
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The detective testified that Belt was upset that Jessica Durham’s husband stole $200 from him. The detective told the court that Belt planned to take Durham and her son back to his house and hold them until he got the money he was owed. Detective Charles Brandenburg told the court that on September 8, Belt tricked Durham into thinking her husband was at his home.
“So she went to the end of the hallway, where David was supposed to be, the bedroom. She went into the bedroom. David was not there. She was struck in the back of the head with a metal object by Lonnie,” Brandenburg said.
“She went on to say, when she got back in the vehicle she was blindfolded and tied up, and her head was bleeding. Her small child, her 5-year-old son was in the back seat,” Brandenburg testified. “She could hear him say, ‘Mommy you’re bleeding, Mommy you need a doctor.'”
The detective went on to say that Belt took Durham to different sites on that Friday, beating her repeatedly. Eventually, police say Belt took Durham to the woods and kicked her off a cliff. She fell 77-feet. According to the officer, Durham was there for nearly 24 hours before hikers found her.
Belt told detectives that he killed five-year-old James Spoonamore because he witnessed the assault.
“He finally admitted to taking James, putting him in a car and driving him to a separate location, in the same wooded area, across Sparks Ridge Road, where he hit James in the back of the head with a metal object multiple times.”
Investigators said they have not been able to locate the hollow pipe Belt allegedly used in the attack.
Police charged Lonnie Belt with murder, assault, kidnapping an adult, kidnapping a minor, and tampering with physical evidence.
At the end of testimony, the judge decided there was enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury.