MORGAN COUNTY - At their arraignments Thursday morning, T.J. Presley and his girlfriend Jamie Litton pleaded not guilty to all charges against them in the February death of Litton's three-year-old son, Blake Litton.
Both Presley and Litton were present in the Morgan County Courthouse as a procedural measure, but neither appeared before a judge in the courtroom. Instead, their attorneys filed not-guilty waivers on their behalves. According to the court clerk's office, attorneys have 90 days to modify the waivers and discuss possible plea bargains.
At the hearing, a handful of Jamie Litton's family was present, including her father James Miller and minister and mentor John Wagner.
The defendants' specific charges pertain to the probable cause statement, which alleges Litton failed to call the police when investigators say 21-year-old Presley admitted to her that he accidentally had "lost it" when Blake Litton soiled himself. Investigators say Litton also was aware that Presley intended to stage the child's death as a hit-and-run accident. According to the statement, Presley allegedly laid the boy's body on the side of Route 135 near Stover before calling an ambulance.
Both Litton and Presley face second-degree murder charges and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Presley faces an additional charge of abuse of a child resulting in death. The second-degree murder charges carry possible sentences of 10 years to life (30 years in Missouri), with the possibility of parole.
The Litton family's minister told KOMU 8 the Morgan County community has continued to focus on remembering the life of Blake Litton and has advocated a child abuse awareness campaign in his honor.
Wagner also confirmed Litton has been held at the Cole County Jail since her arrest. Calls to local jails confirmed the Pettis County Jail has held Presley, since officers moved him from the Morgan County Jail on June 1.