MURRAY — A Calloway County man facing charges in a child abuse case made his first court appearance Tuesday morning.
Matthew Jones Jr., 24, of Calloway County, is charged with criminal abuse in the first degree involving a child under 12. He was in court Tuesday for his arraignment in front of Calloway District Judge Randall Hutchens.
Since felony cases of this nature do not allow for a plea to be entered, Hutchens set a preliminary hearing for 9 a.m. next Wednesday, June 2, in Calloway District Court.
Kentucky State Police Post 1 detectives arrested Jones last week. Post 1 Public Affairs Officer Trooper Adam Jones said this step was taken after an infant was treated by medical personnel for what were determined to be “suspicious injuries.”
Trooper Jones said that, last Tuesday, May 18, the Calloway County Department for Community Based Services contacted Post 1 about a case involving an infant that had sustained serious physical injuries. Jones said that the infant was airlifted from Murray-Calloway County Hospital to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee for treatment.
Jones was subsequently arrested Thursday after speaking with Post 1 detectives.
As of Tuesday, there has not been an update on the child’s condition.
On Tuesday, Jones, appearing on video from the Calloway County Jail, said that, while efforts are underway to obtain a private attorney, he was going ahead and opting to apply for a public defender.
“I think that is a good idea,” Hutchens responded.
Other than that, the only other issue of substance in Tuesday’s proceeding was Jones’ bond. Hutchens set it at $50,000 cash after Jones’ arrest.
“Based on the seriousness of the offense, I’m going to leave the bond the same,” Hutchens said, honoring Assistant Calloway Commonwealth’s Attorney James Burkeen’s request for the bond to not be amended.
The preliminary hearing is the next step in the case. It is intended for a judge to determine if enough evidence exists for the case to move forward, or end from lack of evidence. Should Hutchens find that enough evidence — known as “probable cause” in legal terms — does exist, the case will then be given to a Calloway County grand jury, whose purpose is also to determine if enough evidence exists to move the case to the next level, which is circuit court.
Hutchens said Tuesday that criminal abuse in the first degree involving a child under 12 is a Class C felony in Kentucky and carries a possible prison sentence of five to 10 years.
Individuals facing charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.