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Thug murders boy, 5 — over $200 debt: Cops

By Brad Hunter, Toronto Sun

James Spoonamore (SAND GAP FIRE DEPARTMENT)

James Spoonamore (SAND GAP FIRE DEPARTMENT)

James Spoonamore loved playing cars and trucks and splashing in the water.

But instead of revelling in the glorious autumn weather swaddling the United States and Canada, the five-year-old’s family is preparing to bury him.

Cops say the happy-go-lucky little boy was murdered by a man who claimed the child’s stepfather owed him $200.

James’ mom, Jessica Durham, 29, was also brutally attacked then tossed off a 23-metre cliff and left for dead in eastern Kentucky.

She remains in the hospital.

“Honestly, it’s been hell. That’s the only way to describe it,” Mary Batson, Durham’s sister, told the Washington Post.

Kentucky State Police Det. Charles Brandenburg testified Monday during a preliminary hearing in Jackson County District Court that Lonnie Belt, 41, believed James’ stepfather stole the cash.

David Durham has denied the accusation.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Brandenburg testified that Belt told cops he had planned to hold the two hostage until the money was repaid.

The detective said he didn’t know why Belt instead severely injured Durham. He apparently murdered the little boy because he witnessed the attack.

“I’ve not really lived a whole life, but I’ve lived enough,” Jessica Durham told the Herald-Leader. “Why didn’t I die, why didn’t my baby live? I would trade my life for his any second.”

The case has been sent to a grand jury.

Belt faces the death penalty if convicted.