A Smithville mother and her boyfriend indicted Tuesday in the death of the woman's 23 month old son made their first court appearance on Friday morning.
23 year old Cody Key, indicted for felony murder and aggravated child abuse, and 19 year old Jessica May, indicted on a charge of aggravated child neglect, were arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court.
As WJLE first reported Tuesday, the child, Colten Alexander May was brought to DeKalb Community Hospital by the couple Sunday morning, May 17 but he was already deceased. The youngster was found to have internal and other physical injuries to his body. Key is alleged to have inflicted the injuries. May is accused of having known the abuse had been taking place, according to District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway.
During their brief appearances before Judge David Patterson Friday morning covered exclusively by WJLE, Key and May had "not guilty" pleas entered on their behalf by court appointed counsel. Judge Patterson appointed District Public Defender Craig Fickling to represent Key and McMinnville attorney Larry Bryant was named to be May's lawyer.
Before appointing them counsel, Judge Patterson asked both Key and May about their finances and whether they could afford an attorney. Key said he had no income or property. May said she owned no property and has been living in a rent home. She added that her only income was from working at McDonalds and that she had only one dollar in a savings account.
Key is under a one million dollar bond and is incarcerated at a facility in another county. May's bond is $300,000. Neither attorney requested a bond reduction.
The cases against Key and May will be back on the court docket again on October 2.
May will be transported to the Tennessee Department of Correction for safekeeping pending disposition of the criminal charge due to her being more than seven months pregnant. Assistant D.A. Greg Strong filed the motion making the request and Judge Patterson granted it over the objections of May's attorney, Bryant who said his client wished to remain in the DeKalb County Jail.
In an affidavit filed with the court, Sheriff Patrick Ray said the jail is not equipped to care for the medical needs due to her pregnancy. "Jessica Ashley May is approximately seven months pregnant. The DeKalb County Jail employs one on-call nurse and does not have the appropriate equipment and/or staff to meet the medical needs of May. The affiant (Sheriff Ray) requests that May be transferred to the special needs facility in Nashville to ensure that she receives the medical attention required by her pregnancy".
Meanwhile, the public defender filed motions with the court asking that biological evidence and blood specimens of the child be preserved for independent testing. The judge granted those requests. Another motion by the public defender asking that the body be preserved for an independent autopsy was later withdrawn.