The lawyer representing a Jefferson City woman accused of causing a 4-year-old child's death has asked a Cole County judge to consider reducing the bond for her client.
During a hearing in March, Cole County Judge Jon Beetem ruled Quatavia Givens, 26, could have a bond for her release — but set it at $100,000, cash only.
Givens has been held in custody since being 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.
Beetem said in March that due to the nature of the crime Givens was charged with, he was making it a cash-only bond and noted if she were able to make that bond, she would lose the services of her lawyer, Public Defender Taylor Elswick, because she would be found to not qualify for the public defender services.
During a hearing Tuesday before Beetem, Elswick argued her client had been in custody for nearly a year and had not given any indication she would be a risk of flight, noting she had no criminal history prior to this incident. Elswick also told the judge she has yet to receive information that's vital to the defense of her client, meaning it will be a long time before she would be able to be prepared to go to trial.
Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson requested Givens continue to be held on a high dollar bond. He noted authorities reported Givens had been making plans to go to Florida to see a family member when law officers were questioning her. Thompson also pointed out Givens has not come out of her cell on at least two occasions when she was scheduled for a court appearance giving the impression, he said, "She does not respect the justice system."
Givens was in the courtroom for Tuesday's hearing, but did not speak.
Beetem said he would take Elswick's request under advisement, but he did not indicate when he would render a decision.
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 Elswick and Thompson to look at counties where jurors could be brought to Cole County for a possible trial.
Elswick 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.