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Bond set for defendant accused of abuse in child's death

Bond set for defendant accused of abuse in child's death

March 21st, 2019 by News Tribune in Local News

Quatavia Givens talks to her public defender Thursday, March 21, 2019, during her bond hearing at the Cole County Courthouse. Givens has been accused of child abuse contributing to the death of 4-year-old Darnell Gray.

Photo by Sally Ince /News Tribune.

Cole County Judge Jon Beetem ruled Thursday that a Jefferson City woman accused of causing a 4-year-old child's death last year can have a bond for her release — but set it at $100,000, cash only.

Quatavia Givens, 26, has been held without bond since she was taken into custody last year.

"You're entitled to have a bond, but due to the nature of the crime you're charged with, I'm making this a cash-only bond," Beetem told Givens. "I should note that if you are able to make that bond, then you lose your public defender because you would be found to not qualify for their services."

Givens is charged with one count of abuse of a child for allegedly abusing 4-year-old Darnell Gray in late October while babysitting him. She pleaded not guilty to the charge in January.

Givens had reported to authorities that Darnell was missing, saying she thought he might have been abducted, which triggered a week-long search that ended with authorities finding the boy's body. Authorities said Givens later admitted she had injured the boy, and an autopsy showed he had suffered multiple injuries caused by blunt force trauma.

A jury from Johnson County in western Missouri would hear the case if it goes to trial. Beetem had ordered lawyers in the case to look at counties where jurors could be brought to Cole County for a possible trial.

Taylor Elswick, Givens' public defender, had requested a change of venue in this case in December, believing it would be difficult to find an impartial jury in the location where the crime occurred due to media coverage.

Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson had requested that Givens continue to be held without bond or that a bond with a high dollar amount be set. He noted authorities had reported that Givens had been making plans to go to Florida to see a family member when law officers were questioning her. He also said that if Givens was to be able to get out on bond, her closest family member is her mother, who lives in St. Louis.

Elswick said Givens' mother works in St. Louis but still lives in a home in Jefferson City, which is where Givens would live if she were to bond out.

Thompson and Elswick said they are unsure how close they are to taking the case to trial, as they have yet to receive the autopsy report on Darnell's remains. A status hearing in the case is scheduled for May.