Mother who survived being pushed off cliff talks about man accused of murdering son

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A woman who survived after being attacked and pushed off a cliff sat in court as the man accused of assaulting her and then killing her five-year-old son faced a judge.

Lonnie Belt appeared in Jackson Circuit Court and pleaded not guilty to murder, assault, kidnapping, evidence tampering, and abuse of a corpse charges on Tuesday. A grand jury indicted him for those crimes last month.

Police say Belt used a metal object to beat five-year-old James Spoonamore to death on September 8th. Belt told detectives that he killed the boy because he witnessed Belt assault Jessica Durham, the boy's mother.

“When I saw him I nearly had a panic attack. Threw up. My heart started racing.”

According to detectives, Belt lured Jessica Durham to his home and then kidnapped her and her son.

“He lured me out of my house under false pretenses; said my husband was hurt and needed me,” Jessica Durham said.

Durham says Belt beat her with a tire jack handle before taking her to the woods. She fought back.

“I got one hand loose, jerked the blindfold off, he pushed me toward the cliff, but I didn't go over the first time.”

Durham rushed him but says she lost her balance when he pushed her. She fell 77-feet. Durham was there for nearly 24 hours before hikers found her.

“He hit me in the head 6 or 7 times. Still never knocked me out. I knew God was with me that day.”

Police found Spoonamore's body several days later. According to police, Belt was upset that Jessica Durham's husband stole $200 from him.

Belt remains in the Jackson County Jail on a $1.5 million bond.

“But I want him to sit and think about what he has done. Want it to play over and over in his head. And I want him to kind of suffer from that,” Durham said.

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