MCKEE, Ky. — A Kentucky man accused of killing a 5-year-old boy and brutally attacking his mother has pleaded not guilty.

News outlets report that Lonnie Belt appeared Tuesday in Jackson Circuit Court to answer to charges that include murder, assault and kidnapping.

Police say the 41-year-old Belt attacked Jessica Durham in September and killed her son, James Spoonamore, because he witnessed the assault that included his mother being pushed off a 77-foot (23-meter) cliff.

A state police detective testified afterward that Belt had planned to hold the woman and her son hostage over $200 that he thought her husband owed him. He said he didn’t know what prompted the attack.

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