November 17, 2012
New charges have been filed against a Stover woman and her boyfriend who are accused of killing her 3-year-old son.
On Thursday, Morgan County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Doug Kinde filed charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a child resulting in death against Jamie Litton, 26, and Thomas “T.J.” Presley, 22. The pair were previously charged with second-degree murder and multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Because of a media gag order, Kinde was unable to comment on the more serious charge, which is defined as “knowingly causing the death of another after deliberation.” A first-degree charge may carry a lifetime sentence or the death penalty if convicted.
The investigation into Blake Litton’s death started in February after Presley called 911 to report Blake had been involved in a hit-and-run accident. Law enforcement investigators were suspicious of his story, noting the time and location of the accident — around 5 a.m. on rural state Route 135 in Morgan County — were unlikely to result in an accident. During a preliminary hearing for Litton in July, Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Chinn, who investigated the original call, said he immediately thought the situation was “odd.”
“I found no vehicle parts, no blood, no liquids, no footprints or tire tracks to show that Presley had even pulled over to the side of the road,” Chinn testified. “I thought it was suspicious. At that time of night, it was around 5:15 a.m., it was dark and quiet. You could hear a car, or see its headlights coming from a quarter-mile off.”
Law enforcement officers eventually arrested Presley and questioned Litton about her involvement. The night of the killing, Litton was at work while Presley watched Blake and Litton’s daughter, who was nearly 3 years old. According to testimony from
Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Stacey Mosher, who interviewed Litton immediately after the case was deemed a homicide, Presley sent Litton a text message
saying “he had ‘lost it’ on Blake.”
“Around 5 a.m. T.J. texted Litton that he was coming to her work and bringing Blake and her daughter with him,” Mosher testified. “Video surveillance footage showed Jamie and T.J. talking for three minutes outside of work, where Jamie said she checked on Blake. According to her, he was breathing very softly and had a pulse rate of 62, which she checked on his arm. She said his head was hung over like was sleeping and he looked ‘peaceful.’ ”
Mosher also said that Litton, “told me she hoped maybe it was a car accident (that killed Blake) because that was easier to accept than having him be beaten to death.”
The new charges on Thursday were unexpected as a Morgan County judge was expected to rule on a change of venue motion. According to the Morgan County Associate Circuit Clerk, the original jury trial scheduled for March has now been canceled and the case will “start from the beginning.”
Both Litton and Presley have been held at state correctional facilities since February and are now facing new bonds of $1 million each.