Posted: Apr 11, 2012 1:23 PM by Meghann Mollerus
Updated: Apr 11, 2012 7:05 PM
MORGAN COUNTY - A Morgan County judge again postponed Wednesday the trial proceedings for 21-year-old T.J. Presley, charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of his girlfriend's three-year-old son, Blake Litton.
Both attorneys are under a gag order, but they did tell KOMU Wednesday morning that they have not yet received Presley's file from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The judge and attorneys have indicated the investigation is still ongoing. Presley currently remains at the Morgan County Jail.
Litton's mother, Jamie Litton, also has been charged with second-degree murder and is in a nearby jail. A family friend told KOMU Jamie Litton has been on suicide watch several times since her son's death, but she currently is in stable condition and awaits her scheduled May hearing.
Meanwhile, Jamie Litton's father and Blake Litton's maternal grandfather, Jim Miller, spoke to KOMU Wednesday in an exclusive interview--about how the case has torn apart their family and rendered unanswerable questions within the community.
Miller said Litton was a "grandpa's boy," who loved his three sisters and his mother. He described his daughter Jamie as a good daughter, great athlete, mother and friend--until her life turned troublesome and turbulent after high school, when she married and divorced twice and had four children before meeting Presley.
"She was a delight, she always was...until she reached the teenage crazy years. To know Jamie as far as a mother who loves her kids...I've always seen that. But why she would make such stupid mistakes is beyond me," Miller said.
Blake Litton and his sisters lived with Miller and his wife in their Stover home, until Jamie Litton began dating Presley and subsequently moved in with him and his mother. Miller described Presley as a man who terrified the children, saying Blake was scared to go to the basment of Miller's house, where Presley often hung out.
"The thing that concerned me most was they [Presley and Jamie Litton] were living downstairs. When TJ was here, Blake did not want to go downstairs. That was my first clue that there was something going on. Blake said, 'Paw-paw, we don't want to go downstairs. We want to stay up here with you,' and that haunts me."
Miller denied noticing any signs of child abuse on both Blake and younger sister Faith during Jamie Litton's and Presley's relationship. But, he noted perhaps his daughter was afraid of what Presley would do to both her and the children if she disclosed his volatile behavior. This fear, he said, could explain why Jamie Litton didn't notify police when Presley told her he had killed Blake and intended to stage the murder as a hit-and-run accident.
The grim reality of the tragedy within his family has been incomprehensible, according to Miller. But, community outreach, he said, has helped the family begin to move forward. In light of a statewide effort to honor National Child Abuse Prevention month, the community has sought to honor Blake Litton--adorning the town's park and schools with hundreds of pinwheels.
"Everyone in this town, I think, has been to the house...people trying to help who didn't know what to do...I don't know what I'd do without friends," Miller said tearfully.
The Millers have expressed their gratitude to the community's support and prayers and are encouraging Missourians to attend an Apr. 21 carnival, hosted by Blake's Legacy Group. The purpose of the event is to raise money for child abuse awareness, protection and education. It will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Stover Park, and persons interested can contact Annette Young at 660-888-3094 for further information and ticket purchasing.
Posted 8:06 AM 12/1/2015 by Louie Kaczmarek, KOMU 8 Reporter
JEFFERSON CITY – Pre-filing began Tuesday for the 2016 legislative session and state representatives already have a plan in mind for the new year.
Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Fulton said lawmakers will be focusing bills on infrastructure, ethics reform and school funding.(More)
Posted 5:44 AM 12/1/2015 by Zachary Reger, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
PHELPS COUNTY - A woman was hit and killed by a passing vehicle Monday night near I-44 in Phelps County.
Miya Goetz, 21, was a passenger in a stopped vehicle on the westbound side of the highway, according to an (More)
Adv. - more news below
Posted 4:36 AM 12/1/2015 by The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Monsanto Co. plans to make its operations carbon neutral by 2021.
A key component of Monsanto's plan calls for working with the thousands of farmers who use its seeds, herbicides and pesticides. The company is developing an incentives program to encourage (More)
Posted 11:05 PM 11/30/2015 by Rose Schmidt, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
BOONE COUNTY - The Boone County Sheriff's Department arrested a woman on several charges after she hit multiple vehicles, sending two people to the hospital.
The department arrested Deborah Barr, 51, from Columbia on two counts of assault, assaulting a law enforcement officer, leaving (More)
Posted 7:52 PM 11/30/2015 by Rose Schmidt, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
FULTON - The Fulton Police Department is investigating a shooting that sent one man to the hospital.
Investigators said the incident was reported at 5:07 p.m. Monday at 728 Grand Avenue.
Detective Dal Hedges said the man was taken to Fulton Medical Center initally but did not (More)
Posted 1:08 PM 11/30/2015 by Derek Brizendine, KOMU 8 Reporter
CENTRALIA - The City of Centralia hopes expanding its electrical system will help bring growth to more parts of town.
Boring for the first of three new underground electrical conduits began Monday. The conduits will run under the two rail lines in the city and widen (More)
Adv. - more news below
Posted 5:36 PM 11/30/2015 by The Associated Press and Ashton Day, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
COLUMBIA (AP) — A federal judge has temporarily blocked Missouri's health department from revoking the abortion license held by a Planned Parenthood clinic in Columbia.
The temporary restraining order issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey is set to (More)
Posted 4:38 PM 11/30/2015 by The Associated Press
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri higher education leaders have dropped plans for a potential 2016 ballot measure that would have raised taxes on cigarettes to fund college scholarships.
Supporters of the "Missouri Promise" initiative announced their decision (More)