Man charged in 5-year-old's death appears in court

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MCKEE, Ky. (WKYT) - "I don't understand how one person can have that much evil in their body to do this a baby. This was a 5-year-old child," said Jessica Truett.

Truett was among the family and friends who attended the hearing for the man charged in the death of a Jackson County boy and the beating of his mother.

Lonnie Belt faces charges of murder, assault, kidnapping, and evidence tampering. He pleaded not guilty on Monday to his murder charge. He previously pleaded not guilty to all of the other charges at an arraignment last week.

He was charged last Monday after authorities found the body of James Spoonamore, 5.

Belt admitted to kidnapping Spoonamore and his mother Jessica Durham before taking them to a wooded area, police said.

He assaulted Durham and pushed her off a cliff, according to police.

Police also say Belt admitted to hitting Spoonamore several times with a metal object.

Friends and family of the mother and son gathered for a vigil Saturday night at Bond Memorial Park to remember James' life.

"That smile, it wouldn't matter how bad your day was, you could see that sweet little smile," Truett said.

In addition to attending the vigil, Truett says the community help pay for James' funeral.

"By the time I closed out the go fund me, the funeral had been paid for, by the entirety of the community."

The judge set a $1 million bond for Belt on the murder charge; that's in addition to the $500,000 bond he’s facing for kidnapping, assault, and evidence tampering charges.

The judge set a preliminary hearing in the case for next Monday.

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