A Leitchfield man has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder in relation to the death of a 1-year-old child.

On Thursday, Dec. 20, at around 12 p.m., Kentucky State Trooper Seth Payne, while on routine patrol, observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on the William Thomason Byway and followed the vehicle to Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center in Leitchfield, according to a press release from Kentucky State Police Post 4 Public Affairs Officer Scotty Sharp.

After arriving at the local hospital, Payne and Trooper Brandon Brooks discovered that 25-year-old James Garrigus, of Leitchfield, was transporting his girlfriend’s 1-year-old child to the hospital for medical treatment, the release states.

The child was later transported to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, and, based on his injuries, troopers notified KSP Post 4 detectives that they may have been a result of physical child abuse, according to Sharp.

"KSP Post 4 detectives’ preliminary investigation revealed that, while under the care of Garrigus, the child suffered severe head trauma at a residence located at 757 Clark School Rd. in Clarkson," Sharp said in the release.

On Friday morning, Dec. 21 at 2:50 a.m., Garrigus was initially arrested and charged with one count of assault, first degree, and was lodged in the Grayson County Detention Center.

The juvenile victim succumbed to his injuries on Dec. 21, and, on Sunday afternoon, KSP Post 4 detectives charged Garrigus with one count of murder.

According to Garrigus's arrest citation, he told police that the male child had fallen out of bed, which caused an injury to his head, and he denied inflicting any injuries upon him.

After the child was transported to Norton Children's Hospital, doctors advised the KSP that he had sustained multiple skull fractures and bruising to his face and buttocks and that these injuries were consistent with inflicted child abuse, the citation states.

The citation also states that a witness in the residence at the time of the alleged assault reported seeing Garrigus spank the child "very hard on his buttocks" before taking him into his bedroom, closing the door, and striking him hard again. Garrigus then returned with the child to the kitchen, and, according to the witness statement, the child appeared to be visibly suffering from some sort of head trauma.

After the child's condition worsened, Garrigus then took him to the hospital, the citation reads.

Additionally, KSP Post 4 Detective Travis Sturgill observed the child's autopsy on Sunday at the Medical Examiner's Office in Louisville. The preliminary diagnosis by Dr. Jeffrey Springer listed the manner of death as homicide, and, in Springer's opinion, Garrigus's statement to police about the incident was "inconsistent" with the child's injuries, according to the arrest citation.

Garrigus was arraigned on the charges of murder and first-degree assault on Thursday, and he pleaded not guilty to both. He will appear in Grayson District Court for a preliminary hearing next Thursday at 1 p.m., and he remains lodged in the Grayson County Detention Center on a $500,000 cash bond.

The investigation is ongoing by Sturgill.