A status hearing regarding the case against the defendant Lonnie Belt, 42, of McKee, KY was held in Jackson County Circuit Court on Tuesday, July 02nd, 2019. Belt was charged with murder on September 11th, 2017 after authorities found the deceased body of 5-year-old James Spoonamore. The murder allegedly occurred after an altercation and assault on Spoonamore’s mother, Jessica Durham, over an alleged theft of $200 by Durham’s husband. Dozens of emergency workers, some mounted on horses, spent days looking for five-year-old James Spoonamore only to find his body about a half-mile from where his mother was rescued. During the preliminary hearing Kentucky State Police detectives testified that Belt beat Spoonamore to death with a metal object. Police say that Belt did not want to leave a witness after the brutal beating of the boy’s mother. In a citation (KSP07) law enforcement officials stated that Belt confessed that after assaulting Jessica and pushing her off a cliff (leaving her for dead) he then took James to a separate area where he struck the young boy in the head multiple times with a metal object. Belt left the young boy’s body in the woods where it was later discovered.
Belt had appeared in court on November 07th, 2017 to answer a grand jury indictment charging him with murder, attempted murder, assault, kidnapping (adult), kidnapping (victim death), evidence tampering, and abuse of a corpse.
Belt is being held on a $1,500,000.00 bond in association with the charges.
According to officials at the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, at the status hearing this week the court continued the trial date until October 12, 2020.
The horrific death of this little boy shook our community to its foundations. A vigil was held in September 2017 to find healing and to remember James. The entrance greeted everyone with a message: “May the darkness of your Loss be Comforted by the Light your little Life Shined”.