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Change of judge granted in murder trial of child's caretaker

September 29, 2021 at 4:25 p.m. | Updated September 29, 2021 at 6:17 p.m.
Quatavia Givens

A Cole County judge Wednesday granted a request for a new judge for a woman charged in the 2018 death of a 4-year-old boy.

During a brief hearing Wednesday morning, Judge Cotton Walker granted the request from Quatavia Givens' defense team. The case was sent to Cole County Presiding Judge Jon Beetem for assignment.

Givens' lawyers have also requested a change of venue, but Walker couldn't rule on it after he approved the change of judge motion.

Givens, 28, who was the child's caretaker, was indicted Aug. 25 on charges of first-degree murder, child abuse or neglect, endangering the welfare of a child and abandonment of a corpse in the death of Darnell Gray.

She was previously free on bond with pre-trial supervision before new charges were filed against her in August.

She was arrested in St. Charles after the new charges were filed and was transported back to Jefferson City, where she is being held without bond at the Cole County Jail.

Prosecutors said Gray was injured while Givens babysat him in Jefferson City. She reported him missing Oct. 25, 2018, and stated he might have been abducted. Authorities found Gray's body a week later. An autopsy indicated he died of blunt force trauma.

In her original case, a jury from Johnson County was to be picked and brought to Cole County to hear Givens' case.

Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson said the new case was filed based on new evidence and added the release of Givens would be inappropriate.

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