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Belleville makes first court appearance in baby death case

A father accused of causing the death of his baby had his first court appearance Tuesday.

James Belleville, 21, of Valles Mines, was formally arraigned by closed circuit television from the county jail. He is charged with the Class A felony of child abuse resulting in death. His bond is set at $1 million.

He applied for a public defender and his case was passed to 1:30 p.m. on March 5 for counsel status. 

The charge alleges he permitted the baby to ingest meth. The baby died of acute meth intoxication. Alcohol was also found in the child’s blood.

According to court records, an eight-month-old child, Caleb James Belleville, died on Oct. 16 at 3636 Turley Road in Valles Mines, which is located in St. Francois County. The child’s parents were Belleville and Crystal Martin.

An autopsy was performed a day after the death. On Feb. 4, the summary of findings was provided to the sheriff’s department, ruling the cause of death as homicide.

The child had 0.21 micrograms of meth in the blood and more than 5 micrograms in the urine. The child also had 0.16 g/dl of ethanol in blood and 0.017 ethanol g/dl of ethanol in urine. The autopsy also showed pulmonary congestion, mild acute passive congestion of the liver, and laryngeal chronic inflammation.

When interviewed on Feb. 17, Belleville initially told investigators he hadn’t used meth in several months. He then admitted to using meth within the past four months, and finally admitted to using meth in January.

He said he never kept narcotics in his residence. However, his wife said he did. 

The investigation is still ongoing and additional charges could be filed against Belleville.

James Belleville

James Belleville

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