MILLER COUNTY, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – The defense for a woman facing the death penalty in the death of her young stepdaughter wants to stop anyone from making statements to the media prior to trial. 

A judge granted that motion Tuesday morning in the case of McKenna Belcher, who is charged with capital murder and domestic battery in the death of McKinley Cawley, 3.

Belcher has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In June, Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Potter Barrett said, “From the evidence that has been presented to the prosecutor’s office, this wasn’t a one-time event. This is beatings that occurred over a course that showed the child had been tortured by Miss Belcher, and that is the reason that the prosecuting attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty in this case.”

Tuesday, the judge also granted a defense request to obtain all hospital and DHS records of all defendants and children involved in the case. Police have alleged that Belcher abused her stepson, 2, as well. The young boy, along with an infant, were taken into state custody after McKinley Cawley’s death in April 2019.

McKinley’s father, Everette Cawley, is charged with permitting abuse of a minor in the case.

Another hearing for Belcher is set for September 16.